February 2001 News

Jihad will continue in JK: Pakistan

20 February 2001
The Indian Express

Muzaffarabad: A Pakistani official on Tuesday confirmed that four militant outfits have been asked to close their offices but only for administrative reasons and not to curtail their "jihad" on the Indian side of Kashmir. The official, who did not want to be identified, said the move was not linked to attempts by the interior ministry to rein in the militant groups or appease Indian concerns about alleged cross-border terrorism. "Yesterday's decision does in no way mean that there is any shift in the policy of the government towards jihad (holy war)," he said. "The jihad or the struggle of the Kashmiris should and will continue." The affected groups are the little known Mujahideen Jammu and Kashmir, Karwan-e-Khalid, Zarb-e-Momin and Zarb-e-Islami, among the smallest of the more than a dozen militant organisations fighting against Indian rule in divided Kashmir. "I cannot understand the motives behind this order but I am not going to accept it," Zahoor Ahmad Butt, chief of Mujahideen Jammu and Kashmir, said Monday. "We are in the field for jihad and we will continue our mission." The official said the four were 'small operational teams" and were not registered with the Muttahida (United) Jihad Council (MJC), the main alliance of Muslim militant outfits in the disputed Himalayan region. They were asked to merge with any of the 18 MJC members, he said. India has refused Pakistan's repeated requests for dialogue over Kashmir, accusing Islamabad of fuelling the 12-year separatist insurgency in the Indian side of the Muslim majority state. Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf told a gathering of Kashmiris here earlier this month that "the indigenous struggle inside occupied Kashmir should continue alongside the peace process." "Freedom struggles demand sacrifices and we should not hesitate in offering sacrifices," he said. The interior ministry has asked militant groups to account for huge amounts of public donations collected in the name of Kashmiri refugees, as well as to obey laws banning the public display of weapons. "It's the recent thinking of the government that there should be some kind of check and they should not be able to collect funds so freely and openly," ministry public relations officer Tahir Khushnood said.


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