Jehadis scuttled a ceasefire plan
4 June 2002
The Indian Express
New Delhi: In his speech on May 27, Pak President General Pervez Musharraf was expected to announce a ‘‘ceasefire on behalf of the Pak Army’’ to be followed by a similar announcement by the United Jehad Council on behalf of militants in Kashmir. However, hours before his speech, the plan was scuttled by commanders of jehadi groups. This has been reported by Hamid Mir, editor of the Islamabad-based Ausaf, for Independent, a Lahore-based weekly. According to the report, there was panic in Muzaffarabad where leaders of the Hurriyat Conference and commanders of several jehadi groups felt that Musharraf was being pressured by the US to ‘‘desert Kashmiris if he wants to save Pakistan from an Indian attack.’’ Jamaat-e-Islami’s Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmad, in Islamabad for a week, was worried over reports that the Pak Army had ‘‘started stopping the mujahideen from crossing the LoC’’ into the Valley. Qazi planned a nationwide stir in Pakistan of religious and political parties against Musharraf for ‘‘selling Kashmir.’’ One day before the General’s speech, the report says, Qazi said that Musharraf was putting pressure on his party to support him on the ceasefire issue but he had refused. Some close aides of Musharraf held an emergency meeting with Hurriyat and jehadi leaders a few hours before the speech. But the ceasefire proposal angered jehadi commanders. ‘‘We will not drink or eat anything in this meeting as a protest,’’ they declared, according to the report. Only one leader from the Hurriyat, Mir Tahir Masood, supported the idea of ceasefire. Mir Tahir is a representative of Maulvi Abbas Ansari, a Shia leader from the Kashmir Valley. The meeting organisers tried their best to convince United Jehad Council chief, Syed Salahuddin, who is also the chief commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen. But even that didn’t work. An angry Salahuddin was reported as having said: ‘‘You are pushing us into another Tora Bora and Kunduz. They will butcher our boys after the ceasefire...What happened after we announced the ceasefire in July 2000? They tried to create differences among us and also killed two out of the five commanders who had announced ceasefire.’’ According to the report, Salahuddin asked three questions: ‘‘Was there any cross-border terrorism in 1983 when India invaded Siachen? Was there any cross-border terrorism in Gujarat; then why did Hindus kill thousands of Muslims there; and why did Bush keep mum on this massacre?’’ The meeting’s hosts found themselves in a corner and this hardline attitude derailed the meeting—and the proposal.