PoK continues to breed terrorists
11 August 2002
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Days after the Pakistan chapter of Hurriyat Conference lashed out at the mismanagement in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), another senior separatist leader left Islamabad red-faced when he accused it of using PoK only as a ground to breed terrorism. ''Almost one year after September 11, the world has changed beyond recognition. Pakistan has, however, still not given up its folly of trying to use terrorism as a covert tool to attain its strategic objectives.... Promises of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to close down militant training camps have not been fulfilled,'' Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said in his speech at 54th session of United National sub-committee on the promotion and protection of human rights. Kashmiri, who was speaking recently on behalf of an European NGO, said that ''under the protective shield of Pakistanís intelligence agencies, PoK remains a sanctuary for terrorist groups which operate in places ranging from Afghanistan and Kashmir to Indonesia and the Phillipines.'' ''Terrorist camps continue to exist in PoK which had led to rising tension and violence with the local population protesting against the presence of Pakistani and foreign terrorists on their soil,'' Kashmiri, who was making an oral intervention on behalf of European Union of public relations, told the sub-commission. Recently, leaders of Pakistani chapter of Hurriyat had snubbed Musharraf for handling of Kashmir issue and even went ahead to say the situation in PoK was far worse than that in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri said in response to the growing dissent in PoK, Pakistani army and secret intelligence services have tightened their ''iron grip over the area by resorting to increased repression.'' He said the recent surveys by independent authorities had proved that Kashmiris were against violence and had a desire for earliest restoration of peace. ''This can only happen when Pakistan finally closes down the terrorist training camps as the entire budget of PoK is diverted for maintaining the infrastructure of these camps,'' he said. Expressing happiness over the demand from various leaders in Jammu and Kashmir for holding free and fair elections, Kashmiri drew the attention of the leaders at sub- commission of elections held in PoK where majority of candidates were denied participation as the military Government wanted its own puppet regime.