Saturday, March 31, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pakistan steps up terrorism in J&K: report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 30
Pakistan has stepped up its sponsorship of cross border-terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country by “qualitative improvement” in weapons, communication equipment and training given to Pakistan-based terrorist groups such as Jaish-e-Muhammed, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Harkat-ul Mujahideen, claims the annual report of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Ignoring the deep desire of the people for peace Pakistan has also persistently sought to sabotage any prospect of peace in the state whenever initiatives in this regard were taken, the report said.

However, Pakistan has continued to pursue its negative policy, specially manifested in its sponsorship of cross-border terrorism and its vicious anti-India propaganda, the report said.

There has also been increased support by Islamabad to infiltration attempts by Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

The July, 2000, unilateral ceasefire announcement by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen was sabotaged through enhanced violence and massacres of civilians in the state in August.

The report said the Prime Minister’s Ramzan ceasefire announcement was “sought to be eroded through an escalation of violence” which included attacks by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists on Red Fort in New Delhi and the Srinagar Airport, an aborted assassination attempt on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and threats to attack the office of the Prime Minister, it said.

India has maintained its desire to resume the composite dialogue process initiated by it in 1998 to build confidence and trust and put in place a stable structure of cooperation besides addressing all outstanding issues between the two countries, the report said.

India has made it clear that an “appropriate environment” free from terrorism and propaganda “is an obvious requirement” for the resumption of the stalled dialogue.

“Pakistan took no action to facilitate such an environment,” the report pointed out.

India has remained committed to establishing a relationship of peace, friendship and cooperation with Pakistan.

To this end, India has repeatedly called on Pakistan to abandon its compulsive hostility and its consistent but futile endeavour to damage India’s interests and denigrate its reputation in the international community.

India has also called upon Pakistan to adhere to the Simla agreement and the Lahore declaration, which are the cornerstones of Indo-Pak ties.

The report has pointed out that functional level contacts between the Indian and Pakistani Governments as well as people-to-people contact between the two countries, have continued.

The Director-Generals of military operations of both armies have maintained weekly contacts and officials from the BSF and Pakistani Rangers met regularly to settle border management issues.

The report said the Samjhauta Express train and the Delhi-Lahore bus service had continued uninterrupted and fishermen, who inadvertently strayed into each other’s territorial waters, had been released at regular intervals.

In December last year, Pakistan announced a policy of “maximum restraint” along the Indo-Pak border by bringing down the level of its unprovoked firing and claiming to withdraw some of its troops.

“But it continues to support cross-border infiltration and terrorist operations in India,” it observed adding that “these self-serving measures did not address India’s concerns relating to cross-border terrorism being sponsored by Pakistan.

It said last year the SGPC did not send any Sikh jathas to Pakistan in protest against the formation of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee headed by a former ISI chief.

However, some private jathas visited Pakistan to celebrate various Sikh religious functions. Over 2000 Sikh pilgrims visited Pakistan on these occasions.

“The opportunity was availed by the Pakistan Government to attempt to indoctrinate the pilgrims against India,” it said.

A jatha of Hindu pilgrims from Shadani Darbar visiting Hayat Patafi in Sindh cut short its visit in protest against Pakistani backtracking on their visit to Hinglaj temple and the restrictions imposed on the jatha’s movements, it noted.

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