India To Ask Pak For Smashing Wireless Network Of Militants
15 February 2004
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Ending a long freeze, India and Pakistan will tomorrow discuss in Islamabad modalities for the composite dialogue process but it may take some more time before the two sides get down to the nitty-gritty of contentious issues like Jammu and Kashmir. 'We are going to start the process agreed to in the joint statement. That will mean looking into modalities for the dialogue process and see what meetings should be organised in the next few months to keep up the dialogue on a sustained basis,' Foreign Secretary Shashank said. In the joint statement, issued after talks between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad last month, both sides agreed to hold composite dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir. Musharraf assured that he would not allow Pakistani soil to be used by terrorists against India. Asked whether the eight-point composite dialogue agreed to by India and Pakistan in 1997 would be carried forward, Shashank said the process would be started and the likely scheduling of meetings taken up. The eight issues comprise peace and security including Confidence-Building Measures, Jammu and Kashmir, Tulbul project, Sir Creek, Siachen, Trade and Economic Cooperation, friendly exchanges and terrorism. Foreign Secretaries of the two countries discussed Jammu and Kashmir, alongwith the issue of peace and security in October 1998, but differences persisted. About the two sides deciding on when to take up the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Shashank said 'we are trying to put the dialogue in place. Let us not go into specifics'. To a question whether India would be carrying any proposal for a dialogue on nuclear stability, Shashank said 'proliferation is a matter of concern to all countries in the world including Pakistan. It is not a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan'. Working on Confidence-Building Measures on the nuclear issue is a bilateral issue, he said without elaborating. Asked whether the two sides would come out with a joint statement at the end of the parleys, Shashank, who leaves for Islamabad on Tuesday, said a decision on this would be taken there. The Foreign Secretary said the decision to go ahead with the Indo-Pak cricket series next month has 'created a suitable atmosphere'. Joint Secretary Arun Kumar Singh, who heads the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran desk in the External Affairs Ministry, left for Lahore today on his way to Islamabad where he will hold two days of parleys with Jaleel Abbas Jilani, Director in foreign office for south Asia. Their parleys would be followed by Foreign Secretary-level talks on Wednesday between Shashank and his Pakistan counterpart Riaz Khokhar to work out the modalities for the composite dialogue. Meanwhile, India is expected to take up with Pakistan the issue of smashing communication set up of various militant outfits operating from Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir during the three-day official level talks beginning in Islamabad tomorrow. During the meeting, which will discuss the modalities for the composite dialogue for resolving all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir, India will take up the issue of communication centres of various militant outfits including Lashker-e- Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in PoK which continue to transmit messages to their cadres in Jammu and Kashmir, informed sources said here today. The militants sitting in PoK camps continue to relay messages to their cadres asking them to 'turn deaf' ears to the friendship messages of India and Pakistan and continue to strike against the security forces. The sources said the volume of communication between Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashker's wireless station on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad in PoK and its cadres in Kashmir valley had increased and India would ask Pakistan to put an effective check on it. Citing an example, the sources said before gunning down of Deputy Inspector General of Jammu and Kashmir Mohammed Amin Khan, the security agencies had interecpted a message of Lashker-e-Toiba chief Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi who asked his cadres to kill a top security forces' officer or a senior state police official on the occasion of Eid. The sources said militants were using high-powered communication wireless sets which are capable of transmitting messages from Srinagar city directly across the border. They said that if Pakistan cracked down on the militant wireless stations in PoK and elsewhere in that country, things would improve far more quickly. Besides this, India is also likely to bring to the notice of Pakistan about the use of highly-sophisticated Thuraya mobile phones by militants. The Indian side is expected to ask for a check on the base station of Pakistan Telecom Authority located in PoK, the frequency of which was being used by militants for their mobile phones. Security agencies have traced some of the cell phones of Pakistan Telecom Authority from bordering districts of Kupwara and Uri, the sources added.