Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin will visit India in March, it is learnt. By that time, Atal Bihari Vajpayee would have returned from Peking after his talks with the Chinese leaders. For some time, the Soviet Union has been keen to know how far India and China are willing to accommodate each other on various issues. Once Peking suspected New Delhi of being over-friendly to Moscow. Now Moscow wants to know how friendly New Delhi will be to Peking. What worries the Soviet Union is that if China does make a substantial gesture on the border issue, the opinion in India maytilt towards China, injuring New Delhi’s equation with Moscow.
Even though General Zia-ul-Haq has refused to interfere with the Pakistan Supreme Court’s decision confirming the Lahore High Court’s judgment sentancing Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to death, diplomatic sources are hopeful that the world leaders’ appeal for clemency may not go unheeded. General Zia told a British TV interviewer that he would not do anything to violate the rule of law. He said the rule of law must prevail and that the independence of judiciary must be maintained. He also obliquely warned the leaders of the world to keep their hands off the Bhutto affair and refrain from interfering with his country’s internal matters.
Procedural formalities are holding up the release of undertrials from the Patna and Muzaffarpur central jails on personal bonds in accordance with the orders of the Supreme Court. The chief judicial magistrate and sessions judge of the Patna Civil Court had not received any communication from the SC. The IG of prisons admitted that he had received a message from the government counsel about the Supreme Court’s decision. The jail authorities at Patna had not received any orders from the concerned magistrates for the release of the undertrial prisoners referred to in the Supreme Court’s order.