Screaming Evidence Of Pak Hand In J&K Terror: British MP
29 September 2003
Jammu: An influential British MP says the continuing insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir 'could not have happened without Pakistan at the very least turning blind eye to what's going on'. Peter Luff, the assistant chief whip of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons, said he had seen 'quite persuasive evidence' of the Pakistani Government's support for terrorism in the State. Luff is leading a 10-member delegation of MPs on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir. He is also the chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India group. He held that while the Kashmir dispute was an issue that India and Pakistan should resolve bilaterally, there were certain 'international consequences' - for instance the support terrorists received from third countries - that would have to be resolved in a global fora. He also drew a parallel between the situation in Kashmir and in Northern Ireland, but did not agree with New Delhi's stand that India-Pakistan talks could begin only after Islamabad stopped sponsoring cross-border terrorism. Responding to a question on the extent to which he felt Pakistan was supporting terrorism in Kashmir, Luff said: 'There is no doubt the totally unacceptable levels of terrorist activities being experienced in J&K could not have happened without Pakistan very least turning blind eye to what's going on.' 'We saw quite compelling evidence that suggests there is quite a level of support coming from the Pakistani Government in terms of training facilities, providing covering fire to infiltrators, provision of arms ammunition.... quite persuasive evidence.' 'It is clear that what is happening here could not happen without Pakistan very least allowing it to happen and they should not be doing that,' Luff said. 'They can't fight terrorism on one border and then permitting it to happen or even encourage it on another border,' he said in a reference to Pakistan's support to the US in the war against terror in Afghanistan. Luff agreed it was for India and Pakistan to bilaterally resolve the Kashmir dispute - but the international community would still have to get involved. 'It's right that India and Pakistan should sort out the future of Jammu & Kashmir. But terrorism often requires more than just two countries to sort out the problem. We have evidence that the terrorist themselves were coming not just from Pakistan but also from other Arab countries as well.' 'I suspect that ending terrorism in Kashmir may require more than just India and Pakistan to sort the problem. Certainly, I think we need to put pressure on Pakistanis to end their support for the terrorist activity at whatever level their support is at. And that can't be done just by India.' 'I think it's important for the international community to tell Pakistan that it must do more to deal with the situation. Issues that have international consequences can't just be left to India and Pakistan. I think that it would be Indian view too. They will welcome that support to pressurise Pakistan.' On India's stand that there can be no talks with Pakistan until it stops supporting cross-border terrorism, he said: 'There are a lot of parallels of course with the situation in Northern Ireland, which the British have experienced for many years. It isn't a perfect parallel because the government of the Irish republic obviously does not actively encourage terrorism but does turn a blind eye.' 'And if we had just said that we would not talk to you until you stop... it would have made situation worse than any better.' 'I think it's very important that a proper dialogue happens between India and Pakistan on other issues as well. And a relationship of trust is built between the two countries. I know it's easy for me to say it from outside, I realise the complexities of that. But I do think that a dialogue a between India and Pakistan must continue. What is happening is unacceptable, but if it is just a stand off and people shout at each other, the situation is likely to get worse than any better.'