Monday, August 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Musharraf blamed for stand-off
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

The possibility of de-escalating the militant build-up on the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir is not possible in the immediate future. Defence Ministry experts apportion the blame on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s blow-hot-and-cold attitude for the stand-off on the LoC since January last.

A spokesman for the Northern Command says Pakistan President’s actions simply waver between internal compulsions and international pressure.

Three weeks before the terrorist strike on the key American installations, General Musharraf has said, “The Taliban are the dominant reality in Afghanistan. They control about 95 per cent of the territory and cannot be wished away. We feel that the international community should engage in the Taliban rather than isolating and ostracising them.”

Two days after the September 11 strike in America the General made a U-turn by committing himself to fight against terrorism and by announcing his support to the USA against the Taliban.

On September 30, in an interview with a television channel, the Pakistan President defended Al Rashid Trust saying that it had nothing to do with terrorism and Harkatul Mujahideen operated from Kashmir and not Pakistan.

Two days before this announcement the Pakistan government had frozen accounts of Al Rashid Trust’s and that of Harkatul Ansar bowing to international pressure. Gen Musharraf had also stated that there were no terrorists in Pakistan and Islamabad’s initial support to Kabul was in the national interest.

Another instance: Harkatul Mujahideen chief, Fazlur Rehman, was arrested on October 6 and released after a few days despite confirmation that he had crossed into Afghanistan in November.

On October 17 Gen Musharraf had suggested to the American forces to get Mullah Omar and then Osama bin Laden. This was followed by a quick denial.

On October 24, a Pakistan spokesman declared “we will teach India a lesson if it indulges in adventurism.” Two days later Islamabad reiterated its readiness for talks with Delhi at the New York Summit. On December 14 Gen. Musharraf expressed shock over the attack on Indian Parliament House but later a Pakistani spokesman said “it was a stage managed drama.”

The Defence Ministry spokesman said that while Musharraf said that Pakistan was firmly opposed to terrorism because it was a major victim of it, on the other hand Islamabad provided assistance in opening terrorist camp in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Addressing the nation on May 27 Gen. Musharraf had brushed aside India’s complaint on cross-border terrorism and at the sametime, vowed to back the “freedom struggle going on in Kashmir. “He had also declared that Pakistan “will not be the one to initiate a war against India.”

On June 6, he pledged to the US Government that support to cross-border terrorism would be stopped and its infrastructure in terms of terrorist camps would be “dismantled.” And the same Gen. Musharraf said in the last week of June “I am not going to give you an assurance that for years nothing will happen on Kashmir” and senior Pakistani officers describing the “freedom struggle” as a “vital component of Pakistan’s defence posture.”

On December 28, Gen. Musharraf said “Pakistan will never initiate war unless it is thrust on us. “He also expressed his willingness to meet Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, but announced that he will not act against the Lashkar-i-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad as there was no evidence against them. Two days before offering the peace proposition Pakistan opened the Hiranagar front in Jammu for the first time since the 1971 war.

On January 12, 2002 Gen. Musharraf, while assuring that no organisation will be allowed to indulge in terrorism, said “Kashmir runs in our blood. Pakistan will not budge an inch from its principled stand on Kashmir.

And later on all the arrested terrorists were released, fund collection was not stopped, banned organisations were allowed to run their shops under different names. By March 30, over 80 per cent arrested terrorists were released and Pakistan was allowed to provide shelter to Al-Qaeda men who were waiting for being pushed into Jammu and Kashmir.

These developments and the rapid fluctuations in Pakistan’s foreign and defence policy had forced India to maintain status quo on the border.

He said Gen Musharraf’s repeated pleas for deescalation on the border could not be considered at the present moment.

The spokesman said “India needed international guarantee against any Pakistani mischief on the border and within Jammu and Kashmir.” If such a guarantee was available “we may order deescalation.”

He said that India had reiterated its willingness to resume talks with Pakistan provided Islamabad stopped aiding cross-border terrorism. “There has been no firm commitment and the field results demonstrate that what Gen Musharraf has been saying does not get translated or implemented on the ground.”

The spokesman said that the “ball for deescalation on the border and settlement of the Kashmir issue was in the court of Islamabad and the international community should mount pressure on Pakistan to reciprocate India’s sincerity in the same vein.”



LeT ultras attacked yatra, says ministry
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 25
The Defence Ministry authorities have claimed that Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants were involved in the terrorist strike on Amarnath pilgrims at Nunwal camp, near Pahalgam, in which nine yatris were killed and 27 others wounded.

A spokesman for the Northern Command today released an intercepted radio message between LeT militants in Kashmir and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

An LeT militant from Kashmir was heard telling his partner across the border: “Khabar suni hai ki nahi” (Did you hear the news or not). PoK ultra: “Na, na” (no, no).

Kashmir rebel: “Koe ilaka parta hai na”

“Kaun sa” (which one), the voice from across the border said.

Kashmir rebel: “Tehsil Pahalgam, yatra pe attack hua. Nau maray hein aur 27 zakhmi” (there was an attack on the yatra in Pahalgam tehsil in which nine were killed and 27 wounded).

PoK ultra: “Koi saathi ko nuksan to nahi hua.” (was there any harm to any of our colleagues)

Kashmir rebel: “Haan, ek saathi ko hua hai” (one accomplice has been killed). The spokesman said this radio message had confirmed that Nazar Mol Qasim, alias Abu Abdullah, belonged to the LeT and hailed from Chakwal in Pakistan.

He said Pakistan-trained militants had planned to carry out a series of massacres of pilgrims, but the tight security bandobast from Jammu to the cave had prevented them from doing so.

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