April 1998 News

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PoK leader demands trial of Harkat leaders

1st April 1998
PTI

Various Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir (PoK) organizations here have demanded that key members of the Pak-based Harkat-Ul-Ansar terrorist outfit be tried by an international tribunal for their self-admitted execution of five foreign hostages in Kashmir.

Terming the executions as "heinous, inhuman and barbaric", chairman of the Kashmir International Front Afzal Tahir demanded "setting up of an international tribunal like that for war crimes in Bosnia to put on trial those who were involved, who ordered and who facilitated the killing of the five innocent tourists".

"By their admission, the Harkat have shown to the world their true colours of being harbingers of terror, brutality and scant regard for norms of civilize society", Tahir said following media reports that Harkat leaders ordered execution of four hostages - two Britons, an American and a German - in anger against the US.

Another hostage, Norwegian Hans Ostro, was killed days after the abduction. His beheaded body was later found in a jungle of South Kashmir.

The PoK leader also said that "the Pakistan army and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) are equally responsible for training, arming, guiding and operationally controlling the dreaded terrorist outfit, and should also be put on trial".

In his statement, Tahir said trial of the Harkat men responsible for the barbaric crime should be held outside Pakistan as "that country is now almost a terrorist state".

The tribunal should also try leaders of other terrorist outfits responsible for slaying of a galaxy of popular Kashmiri leaders such as Maulana Farooq, Maulana Syed Masoodi, Qazi Nisar, Dr Abdul Ahad Guru, Mushirul Haq and general manager of HMT, Khera, he said.

FAMILIES CRUSHED BY NEWS: Reacting to the media reports yesterday, the distraught family members and next of kin of the two British hostages, Keith Mangan and Paul Wells said "they were crushed by the news and not in a state to react immediately."

While American Donald Hutchings and German Dirk Hasert, abducted in July 1995 from Pahalgam, were reportedly executed in December 1996, the two Britons were "ordered killed after an US attempt to release them backfired." The Sunday Times report did not, however, say when the two were killed.

Reports here said while most of the Middles borough, from where Keith Mangan hails, spent the Sunday watching their soccer teams fortunes nose dive in the finals, his family were counting in agony his 1,000th day in captivity.

Mangan`s family marked the day by planting an oak tree at a nature park in his home town and releasing four doves of peace to press for the release of their son.

Meanwhile, another PoK organization, People`s National Party (PNP), said here that an army soldier was killed in a recent clash between the Pak-backed mercenary group Lashkar-I-Taiba and the moderate JKLF in the terrorist training camps near the PoK capital, Muzzafarbad.


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