January 2002 News

Musharraf leaves terrorists free to use PoK base: Report

3 January 2002
The Hindustan Times

Washington DC: President Pervez Musharraf has left terrorists in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) free to continue their activities in Jammu and Kashmir, confining his mild crackdown to Pakistan proper, a leading American newspaper commented on Thursday. The Americans, analysts say, know this but do not want to pressure Musharraf too much because they need to use Pakistani territory and air space against the Al- Qaeda and Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. After interviewing one of the activists of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Gulam Hassan, in the apple orchards of Sopore, the Washington Post wrote: ''Complicating matters for India are thousands of guerrillas like Hassan who belong to resistance groups based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. ''The Pakistani government has indicated it does not plan to go after them because it views their efforts as a freedom fight, not an Islamic holy war. Jaish and Lashkar, by contrast, are headquartered in other parts of Pakistan and their members are Pakistanis who are not from Kashmir.'' According to the Post, although some Kashmiri separatist leaders believe that Pakistan''s crackdown could deprive them of the resources needed to maintain a high-intensity operation,'' Hizbul''s supreme commander Syed Salahuddin said in a telephone interview from Pakistan that his fighters could get what they need in India. ''Sophisticated arms and ammunition are readily available in many markets,'' he said. He said the Pakistani actions with regard to Jaish and Lashkar ''would in no way affect the decisive role and target-oriented efficiency of Hizbul''.


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