Ever-green ISI to keep J&K pot boiling
14 October 2002
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak
Jammu: Indications are by no means uncertain that Pakistanís ever-green intelligence agency, better known as ISI, may not hesitate to increase the terror level in Jammu and Kashmir. Apparently encouraged by the impressive showing at the hustings in Pakistan by the religious right, the ISI in particular and the religion-ridden component of the all-powerful military establishment in general will continue to aid and abet insurgency, militancy and terrorism in J&K. That Islamabad will not allow suspension of ''moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiri freedom-fighters'' has, significantly, been confirmed by the print and electronic media of Pakistan. A number of programmes of Government-controlled Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television (PTV- World), monitored by Indian agencies in recent times, particularly in the run-up to the Assembly polls in J&K and after the announcement of results of these polls as also of the Pakistan general election, have, in unambiguous terms, conveyed the message: People and Government of Pakistan will not ignore what has been, and is, happening in Kashmir. Transcript of several Kashmir- specific programmes of Pak Radio and PTV-World,shown to EXCELSIOR correspondent by a highly-placed Government source, should leave none in doubt about the shape of events to come on this side of the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB). Messages vis-a-vis the continuance of Pakistanís ''special sympathy for and support to Kashmiri people engaged in the freedom-struggle'' are, significantly, loud and clear. The source explained that if Gen. Parvez Musharraf and his military establishment were to honestly and sincerely oblige the international community, particularly the United States, by turning off the J&K-specific infiltration tap, then the mood of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr LK Advani, would have been different altogether. The fact that Pakistan has no plans to abandon its policy of aiding and abetting cross-border terrorism and infiltration has been established by the recent utterances of Islamist radicals of Pakistan. Most of these extremists belong to the Muttahida Mujlis-e-Amal (MMA), a loose grouping of half a dozen right-wing parties, which captured the sensitive North-Western Frontier Province (NWFP) at the just- concluded elections in Pakistan. The MMA also held the balance in the new National Assembly. The development has been regarded as crucially important for the large sections of extremist elements within the ISI and the military establishment of that country. Pakistanís North- Western Frontier Province, it is universally known, has been, and continues to be, the most important launching pad for various categories of jihadis meant for operations in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India and in countries where American installations or interests have already become visible. The capture of NWFP bordering Afghanistan by the religious right has captured hearts of pro-Taliban and anti-India elements in Pakistan, particularly of the ISI. Massive expansion of the ISI network, in recent years, has also been facilitated by the growth of the jihadi influence and their gun culture. No wonder, in the absence of any decisive drive by Islamabad to end cross-border terrorism and infiltration, particularly in J&K, the fear of fresh rounds of terrorist violence in the post-poll eraó all at the instance of Pakistanóhas increased. Had the signals from across the border been somewhat encouraging or positive, then Mr LK Advani wouldnít have publicly asserted in New Delhi on Sunday that there ''there will be no talks with Pakistan or Pakistan-backed terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir until Pakistan stopped sponsoring cross-border terrorism''. EXCELSIOR was officially told that in view of Islamabadís reiterated standpoint justifying the ongoing ''freedom- struggle by Kashmiri people'', Mr Advani had strong reasons as he put forth his ''calculated'' argument: Dialogue and cross-border terrorism cannot go together. The authorities in Delhi and the separatist leadership in the Valley expect that the successful conduct of the polls in the State could jump-start their stalled dialogue. But security agencies are of the view that this kind of optimism ignores the ''fact'' that hundreds of hardened jihadis and militants, mostly Pakistanis, are unlikely to abandon the gun. According to oneintelligence assessment, these elements owe no allegiance to the Hurriyat Conference and many among them are out of control of the Pakistani authorities.Part of the assessment runs thus: How deadly these elements are has been reflected by the various fidayeen attacks.As all the dreaded elements havenít been eliminated so far, one can anticipate some, if not many, strikes from them in coming days and weeks.