Kashmir militants sore over Pak. stand
25 June 2002
B Muralidhar Reddy
ISLAMABAD: The militant and not-so militant outfits operating in Kashmir from Pakistan are agitated over the commitment given by the Musharraf regime to stop infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC). Though it is difficult to say anything about their capabilities to operate independently, they appear to be angry over what they see as a U-turn by the military government over the Kashmir issue and are in a defiant mood. This was evident from the outburst of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Amanullah Khan, at a news conference here today on what he termed as signs of ''compromise'' between India and Pakistan ignoring the wishes of the people of Kashmir. He went to the extent of questioning the competence and jurisdiction of the Pakistan Government in banning ''genuine freedom fighters'' from crossing the LoC and declared that the JKLF is determined to defy the ban. Of course, the JKLF, the first outfit to take to arms in Kashmir under the leadership of Mr. Khan, is considered to be a ''spent-force'' but the anger ventilated by him is a reflection of the thinking of the leaders and cadres of other militant outfits. The mood among the militant outfits operating from the soil of Pakistan and PoK was also evident at a meeting held here on Monday at the city center. Organised ostensibly to honour the ''martyrs'', who have died in the cause of Kashmir, it became an occasion to caution the Musharraf regime against any ''sell-out'' on Kashmir. Local media reports said that representatives of various outfits who had gathered deplored the government policies against religious parties and asserted that they would not accept any unilateral cease-fire on the LoC and the International Border. They vowed to continue with ''jehad in Occupied Kashmir''. Among those who addressed the meeting included representatives of the Muttahida Jehad Council (conglomerate of militant outfits), the Jamat-al-Daawa, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the Jamat-e-Islami, the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and PoK chapter of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. They argued that mujahideen (holy warriors) neither recognised the Control Line or any other control on them. They criticised the Pakistan Religious Affairs Minister for what they called ''anti-jehad statements'' and maintained that ''jehad'' would not be fought only under the U.S. or Musharraf''s dictation. At his news conference, Mr. Khan talked about pressures on the jehadi outfits by the Musharraf Government to stop infiltration and asserted that any compromise between India and Pakistan without taking into consideration the wishes of the Kashmiri people would not be acceptable. ''In the name of cross-border terrorism, Pakistan has imposed a ban on genuine freedom-fighters from crossing the LoC. We condemn this arbitrary move. Who is Gen. Musharraf to decide on the fate of Kashmiris? Is he a bigger leader than Mohammad Ali Jinnah?,'' he asked. Mr. Khan said the Kargil operations by the Pakistan Army and activities of ''foreign militants'' in Kashmir has given a bad name to the ''freedom struggle'' in Kashmir and asserted that the people of Kashmir should be left to themselves to decide their fate. In another development, the Hizb chief, Syed Salahuddin, has written a letter to the leaders of the European Union taking exception to the stand they have taken on the Kashmir issue. ''It seems that the whole truth, which constitutes the basis of the exclusive tensions in South Asia, has been deliberately and injudiciously sidelined. The reality is that the 54-year-old struggle of the people of J&K was against Indian occupation. This movement is indigenous, home-grown and carried on in nook & corner of the State by the Kashmiris,'' it said.