President Pervez Musharraf was to address the nation on the looming threat of war with neighboring India, as tensions rose after Pakistan's weekend missile tests.
Pakistan, which has said it would conduct a series of tests from Saturday through Tuesday, has defied international calls for restraint to launch two nuclear-capable missiles, the medium-range Ghauri capable of striking deep into India and the newly developed short-range Ghaznavi weapon.
Anti-India protesters march holding a models of Pakistan-made missiles at a rally Sunday, May, 26, 2002 in Lahore, Pakistan. Pakistan and India are on high tension over the decades-old Kashmir dispute. (AP Photo/K.M.Chaudary)
US President George W. Bush led expressions of concern over the test-firing, but said he was more anxious "that Musharraf show results" in the global fight on terrorism.
"He must perform," Bush said of Musharraf's efforts to halt cross-border incursions into Indian-controlled Kashmir, which have fueled the row between the nuclear-capable nations and led to a dangerous border stand-off.
As an international diplomatic push to avert a conflict between the South Asian rivals went into high gear, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Safonov was Monday due to arrive here on a peace mission.
Safonov will discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to arrange face-to-face talks between the Pakistani and Indian leaders on the sidelines of a June 3-5 conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
A Pakistani foreign affairs official said that during the three-day visit, which was planned earlier but acquired new significance after Putin's announcement, he will also hold talks with Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar.
Pakistan has already said it will "respond positively" to the initiative aimed at cooling the row centered on the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir where a million troops are now massed on the de-facto border between the two countries.
However, India has been more guarded in its response, saying Vajpayee would visit Almaty but there were no indications the two leaders will meet.
The standoff began in December when India blamed Pakistan for an attack on the Indian parliament, and escalated on May 14 when 35 people were killed in a massacre in Kashmir, which New Delhi again blamed on Islamabad.
For the past 11 days the two countries have been fighting artillery duels across the Line of Control (LoC) which divides Kashmir, killing 42 on the Pakistani side and 16 in Indian Kashmir.
Musharraf, who has described the standoff with India as "extremely explosive", is due at 8:30pm (1430 GMT) to make a nationwide broadcast on the situation and the steps taken by his government to address it.
He is expected to elaborate on a May 22 statement issued after a cabinet meeting which made an important new concession to India, saying Pakistan would not allow terrorist attacks to be launched from Kashmir.
Copyright 2002 AFP