Jehadis continue to get Pak support
13 June 2001
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: If intelligence agencies are to be believed, Pakistan - at one level or the other - is responsible for the current phase of violence in and Kashmir as "militants cannot go on for even one day without its backing". The "Jehadi" groups are hell-bent on increasing violence in the Valley despite a snub to clerics from Pakistan's Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf. "Things are very, very rigid in Pakistan what with its multi-level power centres," explained an official. The Jehadi groups tend to pretend that they work independent of outside control, including that of Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Tayyeba spokesman Abu Osama ridicules suggestions that his group is working at the behest of Pakistan. "We are operating in Kashmir to help our oppressed brethren. Atrocities by Indian security forces are growing day by day". The All-Party Hurriyat Conference leaders are reluctant to comment on who controls these groups. It is well known that former APHC chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has a word of praise for these groups, and calls them the friends of Kashmiri Muslims. These groups - Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-e-Islami and Al-Badr - have been particularly active in recent times. In the past one year alone they have been blamed for massacres during the Amarnath pilgrimage, suicide attacks on camps of security forces and the Srinagar airport and attempts on top political leaders in the State. The situation has worsened after Prime Minister Vajpayee's invitation to Musharraf. But Pakistan is not behind every attack. The action on ground is decided at the lower level based on broad guidelines from across the border. Lashkar, for example, "We have proof that it gets high-level support from the Pakistan establishment and the fundamentalist group," an officer said.