April 2000 News

United States applying double standard on Kashmir: Mujahideen

3 April 2000
Dawn Karachi

New Delhi: Accusing the United States of applying ''double standard'' in case of Kashmir, the Mujahideen are resolved more than ever to intensify the struggle to free Kashmir even if Gen Musharraf bows to American pressure, says the Washington Post. In a report in its Sunday edition, the paper says: ''the leaders of Mujahideen said that the US stance during Mr Clinton''s visit would encourage India to step up repression of the local populace.'' The United States has given India a new license to kill unarmed Kashmiris, said a Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman in an interview with the paper''s correspondent. If Clinton wanted us to stop Jihad, he should have called on India to stop its brutalities, too. Now things will only intensify. The Post says: ''A week ago, President Clinton dashed Pakistan''s hopes for foreign mediation in the Kashmir dispute when he visited the region and declared a new strategic alliance with India. In contrast, his message to Pakistan and its military leader, Gen Pervez Musharraf, was a stern warning to curb violence in Kashmir or face isolation by the United States.'' But if anything, Washington''s rebuff seems to have reinforced the determination of the leaders of Pakistan-based insurgent movements. Even if Pakistan''s military rulers bow to US pressure, they insisted in interviews last week, the juggernaut of Jihad in Kashmir cannot be reversed, the Post adds. The paper, quoting the Mujahideen leaders, says: ''America has always cheated Muslims and worked for its own interests. We were very grieved that Clinton came here and did not say a single word about the terrorism in uniform by Indian forces in Kashmir,'' adding, ''Even if the government puts pressure on us (Mujahideen), they will not give up until the Indian troops leave Kashmir. Musharraf cannot stop it. It is not in his control.'' For many Pakistanis, freeing Indian Kashmir has become a sacred, if somewhat distant, cause. The Pakistani government denies giving direct support to the insurgents, but Musharraf has made numerous speeches in support of the Kashmiri Jihad movement, and posters urging support for Lashkar and other insurgent groups are displayed in mosques and markets, the paper says. While many educated, westernized Pakistanis express concern about such issues as Pakistan''s ailing economy and its inability to establish stable democratic rule, support for the insurgency is an emotional rallying cry among poor and devout Muslims, the paper adds. Our prophet says that Muslims are like a body. If one part is hurt, the other part feels the pain. If the United States can intervene in Bosnia, and Australia can send troops to defend Christians in East Timor, shouldn''t we help our own brothers fight for freedom in Kashmir?, asked the Mujahideen leaders. However, the paper says that some Pakistanis disagree with the position taken by the Mujahideen. We have so many economic problems here. Millions of Pakistanis don''t even have water, while India is advancing in education and technology. Many Pakistanis said they were outraged by the massacre of 36 unarmed Sikhs in a Kashmiri village during Clinton''s visit to South Asia. Authorities in New Delhi blamed the crime on Lashkar-i-Tayyaba and Hizbul Mujahideen, but opinion here is that it was committed by paramilitary groups acting at India''s behest to tar the insurgents as terrorists while the world''s eyes were on Kashmir, the paper adds. In interviews with the paper, the officials of Lashkar-i-Tayyaba and Hizbul Mujahideen strongly denied any involvement. ''They said it would have been physically impossible for their troops to get away with such a mass slaying, the Sikh community had been supportive of their cause, and they had strict rules against harming innocent civilians.'' We do not kill a man who is not involved in the war against us, whether he is Muslim, Hindu or Sikh. Islam does not allow it, said the leaders of the Jihad movement. ''This deed did not favour the Mujahideen, it favored India and its propaganda. ''Kashmir is full of graveyards,'' they say, ''and most of the martyrs have been Kashmiris.''

 

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