January 1998 News

Rule

Fresh evidence of Pak involvement in Jammu and Kashmir

28th January 1998

Army of the Pure Dedicated to Killing Hindus and Jews, says Pakistani Magazine Herald

Fresh evidence of Pakistan involvement in abetting terrosim in J&K has come to light; with the Laskhar-I-Taiba (Army of the Pure) ourfit admitting to the loss of 350 of its Pakistani Fighters in J&K. The Lashkar which claims to have the largest number of "Jehadi Fighters" in Kashmir is the militant wing of the Markaz Dawa wal Irshad or the centre for preaching, a fundamentalist
organisation formed in 1987 and based in the town of Muridke, some 40 Kilometers norht of Lahore.

An investigative report in the latest issue of Herald magazine provides startling details of the Lashkar's activities in J&K. Given the fact that these details have appeared in a respected Pakistani magazine and are not part and parcel of what Islamabad terms as Indian "propaganda", the story needs to be treated with that much more seriousness.

These reports have also come in wake of the US state Department branding the Harkat-al-Ansar as a terrorist outfit in November last year. It provides fresh evidence that how fundamentalist groups are using their clout to recruit, train and send fighters into Kashmir.

According to the magazine, Amir of the Lashkar decides how many men should be sent to kashmir to fight there. "Compared to other similar organisations, the Laskhar-I_Taiba has proved to be a resounding success. Since its inception, it has managed to attract thousands of committed young men in to its fold. The driving force behind its massive success is deceptively simple; using
its impressive organisational network, which includes schools, social service groups and religious publications, to stir up outrage against the injustices memted out to Kashmiri Muslims, the Dawa wal Irshad creates a passion for jehad. "

Those who join the Lashkar can undergo two types of military training-the first is a 21 day "standard course" and the second is a more intensive 3 month course geared towards guerilla warfare and trains in the use of small arms and ambush techniques.

According to the report; the Lashkar's men prefer death to being captured. " Only those of our men are captured who faint during the fight," Khalid Walid, an office-bearer of the organisation, was quoted as saying.

" In the field of combat, however, it is said that Lashkar fighters give as good as they get. Since it is not possible to bring their captives back to Pakistan, and the Indian Government does not bargain for the return of hostages, all Indian prisoners are killed in the occupied valley. The Lashkar fighters will usually execute an Indian soldier by slitting his throat…" the report said. These statements are obviously made without batting an eyelid.

Such details are a revealing indication of the mindset of the fundamentalist orgaisations operating from Pakistani soil, who recruit fighters here and send them to Kashmir to fight there. "The Quran orders us to hit them on every joint….we are instructed to treat the enemy the way they treat us." Abdul Rehman at Dakhil, Lashkar " commander" for Kashmir, is quoted as saying.

In an accompanying interview, Hafiz Mohammad Khan, Amir of the Lashkar, stated "Our jehad is confined strictly to non-Muslims, and particularly to Hindus and Jews, the two main enemies of the muslims….to my mind. Hindus are what the Quran terms mushriks (polytheists). This (Hinduism) is the worst form of shirk (polytheism); in which 30 million Gods are worshipped. And from here, shrik has been smuggled to other nations of the world…."

Asked about how the, group was funded, Khan claimed that they were not receiving money from outside sources. The Lashkar, which sees Afghanistan as its training ground, belives that outside funding harmed the :cause" in Afganistan.

"The situation is different in Kashmir. No one is ready to donate any money to the Kashmir cause. They consider the Kashmir cause to be a regional one concerning Pakistan alone. Our Government has not succeeded in making it a question of human rights….the organisations which are working in Kashmir are working with the aim of sacrifice. That is why there are less
dangers in Kashmir. We spend what we collect…the bad effects we saw in Afghanistan do not exist in Kashmir," Khan claimed. Asked what was there relationship with Pakistani Intelligence agencies, the Amir stated; You must get help from wherever you can, whether its from Government or individuals. Even if the Chinese Government agrees to help us against India,
we should take the offer…'

In conclusion, the reports points to domestic concerns relating to the activities of groups like the Lashkar given the climate of sectarian hatred and violence within Pakistan. "What, for instance, will happen if a negotiated settlement to the Kashmir problem one day becomes a reality ? This scenario is completely unacceptable to the members of the Lashkar, who categorically reject
the system of constitutional democracy and speak openly in favour of an Islamic revolution"

"If. Allowed to operate completely unchecked (which appears to be present sitiuation), they manage to establish a State within a State one day the Lashkar and other similar organisations may well decide the time has come to topple the system they so despise, At that stage, we may well witness a new kind of jehad, the kind that sectarian parties have already begun to wage
within our own borders," the magazine added.


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