April 1999 News

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ISI pumps several crores to revive militancy in J&K

4th April 1999
Daily Excelsior

NEW DELHI: The Inter-Services Intelligence of (ISI) Pakistan is again trying to stoke the embers of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, has even targeted peaceful Himachal Pradesh by pumping in the fortunes earned from poppy trade and was also attempting to create a communal wedge in Jammu and Doda areas, Home Ministry sources said here today.

Quoting interrogation reports of some recently arrested militants, the sources said, the ISI with the active support of Pakistani Army, plans to heighten militant activities in both the states and has targeted nomads in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh.

Bouyed with huge profits from poppy cultivation in Pak-Afghan border, ISI was ready to pump in several crores to revive the dying militancy, the sources quoted a Pak-based arrested militant, Shamas-ul-Haq, resident of Balochistan, as having confessed.

The sources said Lashker-e-Toiba militants had also been asked to move into the higher reaches of Jammu to foment communal trouble in the region and increase their presence along the Indo-Pak border.

However, ISI has directed the militants to refrain from shooting in public and take utmost care not to invite public wrath, they quoted another militant, Bashir Ahmed, as saying. The ISI has also directed militants to target Jammu city after establishing bases in the two states, Ahmed was quoted by the sources.

The militants have claimed that a number of ‘Darasgahs’ (Islamic schools) have been set up in Chamba and Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh where militants take refuge after sneaking into the state, they said, adding large scale infiltration was also taking place from Reasi, Poonch and Rajouri with an eye on Jammu.

ISI has asked Afghan warlords to train the ultras as it was becoming increasingly difficult for the Pakistani Army to do so in view of mounting international pressure, they said.

The regular Army has been staying away from the training camps along the Line of Control (LoC) which have been converted into transit camps to shift extremists to North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan for training, the sources said.

A recently arrested militant, code-named Sikander, told the authorities that the camps along LOC including Gadi Habib, Nowshera, Nowsada, Kotla and Bimber have now been made transit camps for shifting ultras to attack in NWFP to be trained in basic and jungle warfare by Afghans, they said.

These jungle warfare tactics, according to Sikandar, were adopted following the directive of ISI to militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir to shift to the virgin peaks of neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, according to the reports.

The arrested militants asserted the ISI was not able to play the religion card anymore with the Afghan youth as some of them on return from Kashmir had praised India for its secular policies, the sources said.

Faced with serious depletion in the ranks of insurgents, isi also adopted another strategy of recruiting unemployed Afghan youth by force to fight in Kashmir, they said.

Several foreign mercenaries who were arrested recently have confessed that they had ventured into Pakistan for a job, where they fell prey to ISI agents who lured them to training camps located in NWFP.

They said a majority of Afghan youths forcibly trained at ISI-managed training camps prefer to surrender at the border. (PTI)

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