May 2001 News

Pakistan may step up terrorism in Kashmir: Report

21 May 2001
The Statesman

New Delhi: “Today, when the present regime in Pakistan is facing increasing difficulties, both internally and internationally, there is every possibility that a frustrated and desperate General Musharraf may resort increasingly to bolder terrorist activities within Jammu and Kashmir as a diversionary tactic,” a recent home ministry report said. Claiming that the ratio between security forces and militants killed in the state has increased, the government also claimed that over 200 training camps were operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to provide training to the militants to create trouble in India. The report said: “As a part of its overall strategy for continuing the current proxy war, Pakistani agencies arranged for weapons training on a massive scale to Kashmiri youth through specially set up training camps.” It said: “Pakistan has established a few transit camps for various militant groups to train them in weapons and tactics.” Asserting that the ratio of security forces and militants killed which had at one point gone down to 1:3.3, has increased to 1:3.8, the report stated that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir has taken a toll of about 24,000 lives of civilians, security forces and militants in the last decade. “The militants, aided and abetted by ISI, have caused enormous damage to the people and also the economy of the state,” it added. The report said General Zia-ul Haq had launched a proxy war against India after his country found that it was making no headway in a frontal war. It said: “The proxy war began surreptitiously by misguiding disgruntled youth in the state and exploiting their sentiments.” “As a consequence, Pakistan trained these youth in subversive activities, equipped them with sophisticated weapons and infiltrated them back to foment trouble in the valley. However, with growing disenchantment with their misadventure and waning local support, Pakistan was forced to take recourse to pushing in foreign mercenaries into the state, who today, constitute a major portion of the terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir.” The report estimated that between 1,500 to 2,000 foreign mercenaries are currently operating in the Valley. The gravity of the war like situation can be gauged from the fact that between 1990 and December 2000, over 32, 250 weapons of various calibers, over 3.29 million rounds of ammunition, over 1.30 lakh explosive devices and huge quantities of other war materials were seized by the security forces in the state. Despite the spurt of terrorist incidents in the state in the post-Kargil phase, the number of incidents during last year (3074) was almost equal to that of 1999 (3071). The number of civilians killed showed a decline to 762 in 2000 compared to 821 in 1999. However, the number of militants killed last year (1520) was higher than that of 1998 (999) and 1999 (1075). The report claimed that Pakistan has lent a new dimension to the proxy war by increasing cross border firing by the Pakistani army to augment and facilitate infiltration, using alien mercenaries to provide cutting edge leadership to militant activities. Expressing serious concern over the continued use of “fidayeen” (suicide squads), the report said: “As compared to the last couple of years, the recruitment drive, which was stepped up by militant tanzeems, has received a better response.”

 

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