ISI forms militant alliance to disrupt J&K elections
29 August 2002
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: In its efforts to derail the electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistanís Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has formed a new militant umbrella organisation to ensure smooth coordination between various Jehadi groups under a unified command. The alliance, including banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), has been named as the ''Kashmir Liberation Army'' and will be headed by Al-Umar chief Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar alias Latram, the Herald Magazine of Pakistan has reported. Zargar was one of the three militants released by India in exchange of hostages of the Indian Airlines plane IC 814 in December 1999. The JeM and the LeT have been completely marginalised after the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. Quoting sources, the magazine said, the move was aimed at dismantling the now universal perception that Pakistan has indeed been guilty of cross-border terrorism. It said his appointment is being seen as the military Governmentís strategy not to raise any more Pakistan-based outfits to fight in Jammu and Kashmir and make the continuing cross-border terrorism in the State as an indigenous movement. The magazine said it was a tactical move by Pakistan to make the international community believe that the incidents of violence during the polls is the handiwork of the Kashmiri groups. The ISI has directed Zargar to employ all means to ensure that the September-October polls in Jammu and Kashmir are disrupted. He has been ordered, in clear cut terms, to ensure that the moderate leaders in the Hurriyat and other separatist groups stay away from the elections. Zargar has further been directed to ensure free flow of funds to the militants and has also been told to use his links with businessmen and organise local funding. The Herald said the Hurriyat Conference has been sternly warned not to bypass Pakistan and enter into any kind of talks with the Government. The move has frustrated the Hurriyat Conference, which now considers Pakistan an obstacle rather than a benefactor.