January 2002 News

Pakistanís crackdown will fail: J&K militants

4 January 2002
The Indian Express

Karachi: Pakistan-based Kashmiri militants blamed by India for an attack on its Parliament said on Friday a sweep of their members by Pakistani authorities would lead to greater cooperation between different militant groups. ''We will continue our struggle despite the government crackdown,'' said Yahya Mujahid, a spokesman for the Lashkar-e-Toiba group told Reuters. ''All the jihadi (holy war) organisations will now operate more closely and will have a closer operational relationship in Kashmir,'' he said. The Lashkar and another group, the Jaish-e-Mohammad, were blamed by New Delhi for a bloody attack on Parliament on December 13. Accusing Pakistan of promoting ''cross-border terrorism'', India has launched its biggest ever military build-up on the border with Pakistan. Since late last month Pakistan has detained leaders of both of the groups as well as about 200 activists from the Kashmiri and other hardline Muslim groups, including about 100 overnight on Thursday. Pakistan denies that the crackdown was launched because of pressure from India, saying it was for domestic security reasons. A spokesman for the Jaish-e-Mohammad condemned the police crackdown and said it would have bad consequences for Pakistan''s military government. ''It is being done at the behest of the United States,'' group spokesman Hasan Burki told Reuters. Both of the Kashmiri groups say they are moving their militant wings out of India and into the rugged mountains of Indian-ruled Kashmir. ''The arrest and closure of our offices is totally unjustified after we changed our organisational structure and shifted the military leadership to Indian-ruled Kashmir,'' Mujahid said. ''Those people who were picked up by the government are simply supporters of the groups.''

 

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