January 2003 News

Pak foreign office, ISI divided on J&K insurgency

18 January 2003
The Hindustan Times
Mubashir Zaidi and Sudhi Ranjan Sen

Islamabad/New Delhi: The civilian and military arms of Pakistanís government gave President Pervez Musharraf contradictory recommendations on what policy Islamabad should pursue on Kashmir this spring. The Pakistan Foreign Office argued for the status quo, saying Indiaís refusal to hold a dialogue with Islamabad had worked in Pakistanís favour. The ISI felt Pakistan needed to step up the Kashmiri insurgency to force India to the negotiating table. Musharraf postponed a final decision for a month. But both Indian and Pakistani sources say the ISI has already begun preparing the ground for relaunching the jehad in Kashmir. The briefing by Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar on Monday to Musharraf and Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali stressed continuity, arguing that the present status quo was working in Pakistanís interests. Khokhar argued Indiaís endless charges that Pakistan was sponsoring cross-border terrorism were a case of overkill. In the Foreign Officeís view, India had undercut its case against Pakistan by withdrawing troops from the border and boycotting talks with Pakistan. For public consumption, Khokhar later told the media: ďThere will be no compromise on the Kashmir issue and we will not budge a single inch from our position on Kashmir and other disputes under any coercion or blackmail. It was our principled stance that this would not be altered at any cost.Ē The following day, high-level intelligence officials briefed Musharraf at General Headquarters. The ISI recommendations on Kashmir were markedly different. The officials argued India no longer had any international partners to pressure Pakistan. Therefore, the previous policy of sending militants into Indian Kashmir should be resumed. In support of this policy, the ISI noted Indiaís refusal to come to the negotiating table despite Pakistan's withdrawing support for infiltration. That Pakistanís civilian and military are at loggerheads on whether or not to resume infiltration does not come as a surprise to New Delhi. Analysts say Pakistanís diplomats want to avoid facing US anger if infiltration is resumes when the snows fall in March. The ISI, however, is committed to keeping Kashmir on the boil. Segments of the Pakistani establishment who advocate resuming militancy in Kashmir are known to be lobbying hard with the military top brass to resume sending militants across the border. Terror Strategy Rename LeT and JeM Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Tehrik-i-Khuddam Uddin to beat US blacklist Increase Kashmiri element of jehad. Hopes have been pinned on Mushtaq Zargar Responsibility for terror strikes to be borne by new umbrella groups, but LeT, JeM and the ISI will retain control Recruiting to be routed through refugee maintenance camp

 

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