Pak justifies terrorist violence in J&K: Omar
29 April 2002
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak
New Delhi: Taking strong exception to the continuing efforts by Pakistan to aid and abet cross-border terrorism in India, The Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr Omar Abdullah, has charged Pakistan with justifying continued terrorist violence in his home State, Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Omar Abdullah informed the Lok Sabha during question hour that Pakistani leaders are calling for the resumption of dialogue with India, despite the fact that Pakistan continues to sponsor cross- border terrorism in India. Answering a question by Ms Renuka Chowdhury, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde and Mr T Govindan, Mr Omar emphasized that India had always desired the establishment of good neighbourly ties with Pakistan. ''It is for Pakistan to end its sponsorship of cross-border terrorism and take urgent action on the list of 20 fugitives from law'', he insisted. He argued that ''appropriate conditions'' were needed for a meaningful dialogue between the two countries. referring to the recent suggestion of the Pakistan Foreign Minister for the conclusion of an extradition treaty between India and Pakistan, Mr Omar Abdullah said that the suggestion was ''only meant for propaganda purposes'' and to delay action on the 20 fugitives from law being sought by India. In his reply to a question by Mr Vinay Kumar Sorake, Ms Renuka Chowdhury and Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mr Omar Abdullah said that the United States had publicly stated, on a number of occasions, that Pakistan must act on the list 20 fugitives sought by India, though it has not been invariably articulated in the form of their being handed over to India. He regretted that Islamabad had not taken any action so far against any of the 20 fugitives. Confirming the recent statement by the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that the chance of war between India and Pakistan ''is higher that at any point since 1971'', Mr Omar Abdullah said in reply to a question by Mr T M Selvaganapathi that tension between India and Pakistan ''is the result of Pakistanís sponsorship of and support to cross-border terrorism in India''. Mr Omar was of the firm view: Tension can be reduced through effective steps by Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism in India. Congress Partyís senior leader Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, wanted to know if the United States had offered rewards to Pakistan Government after it initiated effective steps against cross-border terrorism in India. In his reply, Mr Omar Abdullah said that the US had not stated that it was offering rewards to Pakistan to take these steps. He pointed out that US had, on a number of occasions, called upon Pakistan to take effective steps against terrorist organisations, including Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, operating out of Pakistan. On the reaction from the international community, including the United Nations (UN), to the recently enacted law in India, namely, Prevention of Terrorist Act (POTA), Mr Omar Abdullah informed Mr C Kuppasami that India has expectedly received ''strong'' international support for the diplomatic, legal and other measures that it has taken to defeat cross-border terrorism ''once for all''. Mr Omar Abdullah placed himself on record as saying: ''The widespread international consensus today is that there is no justification for terrorism, which must be eradicated wherever it exist''.