May 1999 News

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J&K Groups Warn Pakistani Mercenaries

14 May 1999
The Pioneer
By: A K Dhar, G Sudhakar Nair, The Hague

Kashmiri leaders from both the sides of the Line of Control (LOC), including pro-independence groups, have called for an end to violence in Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that Pakistani mercenary groups have no role to play in resolving the imbroglio.

Individual groups and United Nations officials participating in "the Hague appeal for peace" to discuss conflict situation world over have stressed that mercenary groups like Harkat-ul-Ansar, Lashkar-i-Taiba and others have no validity or standing in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)-sponsored and controlled groups cannot be expected to play a pro-people role in Kashmir", Farooq Siddquie, a Kashmiri settled in United States and who has launched the Council for Independent Kashmir (CIK) said adding "guns and violence in Kashmir should be replaced with dialogue".

For the second day in succession, pro-independence groups like the CIK launched a broadside on the All-Party Hurriyat Conference with Farooq Siddquie challenging their right to sit on any "round table on Kashmir" and accusing it of being silent over "widespread atrocities committed by the ISI-controlled groups in Jammu and Kashmir".

Another CIK leader, Usman Ahmed, when asked who was responsible for largescale killings in Kashmir, pointed out to another room where ISI was sponsoring a rival round table meet on Kashmir. "You should ask them of killings in Kashmir".

"The overwhelming view that insurgency and violence (in Kashmir) should be stamped out was the dominant theme of the discussion," according to one of the participants from India.

He said the urgent needed to "reject" violence and return to the Kashmir's traditional ethos of co-existence and "Kashmiriyat" in a pluralistic and secular society are expected to be the key principles of a joint resolution being drafted for adoption at a special session on "global forum for Kashmir studying various options".

During the dialogue, the All-Party Hurriyat Conference was chided for being unrelenting in their demand for international monitors in the event of their participation in elections with some delegates saying Indian non-governmental organisations were equally capable to observe the polls.

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