October 1998 News

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Pakistan Spending Millions To Keep Kashmir on the Boil

9th October 1998
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Though the seizure of weapons, ammunition and explosives in the past over nine months is only a fraction of the total arms sent by Pakistan to Jammu and Kashmir the haul indicates that Islamabad is either spending millions of rupees on arms smuggling or has received supplies from its friendly countries for enhancing the striking capacity of the militants operating in the state.

In the past over nine months the security forces, including the Army have recovered nearly 2250 kg of explosives which includes about 100 kg of RDX. As many as 10,000 grenades were seized by the police and the Army from different militant hideouts and during encounters. As far as the assault rifles are concerned the security forces seized about 1800 rifles of the AK-47 and AK-56 series.

Senior government functionaries said the militants had over the years dumped large quantities of arms and ammunition at several places in the state and most of the seizures had been effected in the border villages right from Kargil to Poonch and Rajouri. Among the weapons recovered in the last nine months include as many as 700 pistols, 125 LMGs and UMGs, 255 rocket launchers and over 1.50 lakh rounds of ammunition of the AK series of rifles, 55,000 rounds of pistols, UMG and snifer rifles.

In the militancy-related incidents as many as 1250 civilians have been killed out of which nearly 500 lost their lives in random firing. That militants, especially foreign mercenaries, resorted to gruesome way of eliminating mainstream political leaders, informers and pro-India elements is borne out by the fact that more than 95 civilians were first kidnapped and then tortured to deaths.

Against the killing of 1250 civilians not more than 1077 militants, including over 300 foreign mercenaries fell to the bullets of the security forces. During the same period the security forces intensified their operations against the insurgents and the state registered as many as 825 encounters.

On the Line of Actual Control there were 63 intrusions in which the Army killed 119 infiltrators. More than 207 militants were arrested by the troops and 76 insurgents surrendered to the Army along with large quantities of arms and ammunition. However, against these killings and arrests a large number of militants especially foreign mercenaries sneaked into the state from across the border. Their infiltration was facilitated by Pak soldiers who resorted to heavy shelling on the border villages and Indian pickets to provide fire cover to the intruders.

The Pakistan Army, reports said, devised a new strategy. Under this plan Pak soldiers kept the Indian troops engaged in border skirmishes and pushed rebels from the unconventional infiltration routes. Once these foreign mercenaries fanned into different parts of the state, it became an arduous task for the security forces to eliminate or arrest them.

The Indian troops have further strengthened the Indo-Pak border making it difficult for the militants to cross into Jammu and Kashmir from across Uri, Kupwara, Tangdhar, Kargil, Poonch and Rajouri. To overcome this hurdle Pak agencies have started exploring the possibility of sending militants from across Kathua. In this connection large groups of militants have been brought to areas in Sialkot, Wazirabad and Gujranwala for pushing them into Kathua side.

Once the militants sneak into Kathua they could take short mountain routes to reach Bhaderwah and Kishtwar in Doda district. The BSF has been directed to mount vigilance in the Kathua border belt and prevent infiltrations.


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