February 2004 News

Kashmir Jihadi groups asked to pack up

16 February 2004
The Nation
Mohammed Rizwan

Lahore: As India and Pakistan get ready to kickstart the first round of composite dialogue on Feb 16, the AJK and valley based Jihadi organisations have been clearly told to pack up and leave. 'We're clearly told to pack up and leave,' said a credible source from a valleybased organisation engaged in guerrilla fight with the Indian occupation forces. Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan are locked in a 56-year long battle for Himalayan region of Kashmir, a territory both the neighbours share and claim. Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Salahuddin, Jamiatul Mujahideen leader General Abdullah, Tehrikul Mujahideen leader Sheikh Jamilur Rehman, Commander Usman, Naib Amir Jaish-e-Mohammed Mufti Abdul Rauf, Harkatul Mujahideen leader Maulana Farooq. Lashkar-e-Taiba representative Zakiur Rehman and Al-Badr leader Bakht Zameen reportedly attended the meeting with senior government officials who asked them to deescalate. 'So far there is no deescalation but the real test would come once the snow melts in the mountains. 'The Jihad Council (a conglomerate of eight major fighters organisation) is watching the situation very closely,' said the source, however, adding, 'There are no final decisions yet as the situation would be clearer by the time snow melts on the mountains.' 'There's a clear sense of changing times in the camps of these organisations as we are hard hit by Pakistan government's decision to monitor our activities and place strict vigilance on our fund collecting activities,' said the source. The source said that the Jihad received a serious setback as during the last year majority of operational commanders from almost all the active organisations were killed. However, he refused to relate the developments to new- found understanding between India and Pakistan. 'There's no dearth of motivation or resolve in our camps but the only problem is times have changed and we're facing a lot of difficulties in our operations,' said the source. The source also contended that during the meeting with commanders soon after the January 6 declaration, President Musharraf clarified that the mention of word terrorism in the joint declaration was in the context of overall security environment of the world and explained Pakistan's stance of fight against terrorism. Both India and Pakistan moved decisively towards a composite dialogue on after signing a joint declaration which calls for resolution of Kashmir dispute according to the satisfaction of both the countries and also included a pledge from Pakistan that it would not allow its territory to be used for terrorists activities in any manner. Commenting on the emerging scenario in the backdrop of Pak-India composite dialogue Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman Saleem Hashmi told The Nation that his party has not slowed down the Jihad against the occupation forces in the valley nor Pakistan has asked them to wind up. 'The armed struggle would continue till the solution of the Kashmir issue,' said the spokesman. 'As President Musharraf had once said that he could only plead for an end to armed struggle as he didn't have any control on the movement in Kashmir. 'There's no change in our policy of struggle against the Indians. In fact the other day 14 Indian personnel were killed in a mine blast,' said Hashmi. The spokesman said that the outfit bought their arms from the open market and no country is a particular supplier of arms to them. 'We buy our arms from open market. In fact we are manufacturing land mines with our own resources and expertise. We'll keep the fight on,' said the spokesman. 'We're not against Indo-Pak talks. But it's a trilateral issue and it should be resolved in accordance with the UN resolutions,' said Hashmi.


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