Lashkar lets loose rein of terror in PoK
2 February 2002
The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Foreign mercenaries, especially of the Lashker-e-Taiba, have been indulging in street fights and have let loose a rein of terror on Kashmiri youths, who have been languishing in militant training camps located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for years.The mercenaries, including those of Lashkar, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Al-Badar, who shifted their bases at the behest of ISI to PoK after the US toughened its stand against promotion of terrorism, have virtually launched a violent campaign against Kashmiris, including recruits of Hizbul Mujahideen.Recently, Lashkar militants attacked Hizbul Mujahideen and made a near fatal attack on their leader Ismail Zaheer, reports Juhud-e-Haq, a monthly magazine published from Pakistan.Lashkar wanted the Hizb to disband itself in the area which the Lashkar claims as exclusively its own.Zaheer''s mother went to a mosque and announced on the loudspeaker that if her son was killed the responsibility would be Lashkar''s. This incident was not an isolated one. Earlier, Lashker cadres were fined Rs 500 each by elders of a village in PoK for spreading hatred in the villages of Khaplu, Bulghsar, Birah, and Yogo. However, the Lashkar refused to pay.The militants have also confirmed the incidents and even said that a flood of Afghan mercenaries, who arrived in PoK after the American strike in Kabul, were treating locals as well as youths of Kashmir very badly. The arrested militants, according to official sources, have said that foreign mercenaries, especially, of the Lashkar, had been trying to marginalise the local Kashmiri youths, who were yearning to return to their native land.The sources said that the level of hatred had increased especially after the Kashmiri youths, on being forced towards the valley, had surrendered before the Army at the Line of Control.The troops also maintain a soft approach towards Kashmiri youths, who infiltrate and surrender immediately, the sources added.Besides, the arrested Kashmiri ultras have also revealed that the ISI was pumping in money through mercenaries into the valley to some cadres of Hizbul Mujahideen for either eliminating its ousted commander Abdul Majid Dar or at least sidelining him completely.This fact also came to light when Delhi Police arrested two militants who confessed that money was being pumped into the valley''s elected Hizbul Mujahideen cadres to eliminate Dar, who was ousted by the outfit''s supreme council for being a moderate.The arrested youths, the sources said, had also said that ISI was relying little on Hizbul Mujahideen and had started a programme to substitute its cadres with mercenaries mainly drawn from Lashkar.