Terrorist Violence Rising Again
2 December 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The spurt in terrorist attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country, including Delhi, must be a matter of worry for a Government that is already under heavy fire from the Opposition on a host of issues. Among the unsavoury issues it has to face are the latest tragic twist to the Bihar's perennially bad law and order situation and an unexpected blow from the US in the shape of Volcker report on the alleged misuse of Iraq's oil for food programme that names Natwar Singh and the Congress party among the 'non-contractual' beneficiaries. These political storms may pass over but the threat from Pakistan is assuming dangerous proportions as it comes behind the cloak of 'peace' talks that many Indians now fear may lead to India lowering its guards against Pakistan. Recent utterances of the Pakistani leadership do not auger well for continuation of the 'peace' mood for long, particularly some of the comments made by Gen Pervez Musharraf and his puppet Prime Minister. A noticeable feature about the rise in terrorist activities is their timing - just when there has been a change of guard in Kashmir assembly with a Congress leader who may be viewed by Pakistan as 'too pro-India' replacing the PDP Chief Minister who had apparently advocated a 'soft' approach towards the militants, a further softening of the Line of Control in Kashmir with five points for movement of relief material and civilians and, last but not the least, the open pat received by the so-called 'banned' terrorist groups in Pakistan occupied Kashmir from the Pakistani president. Gen Pervez Musharraf, in fact, now openly praises the militant organisations for their relief and rescue work in PoK even as most of the civilian population in Pakistan berates his Army for its tardy efforts. He has categorically ruled out any action against these groups, meaning they are free to resume their activities without any fear of an official crackdown. That Musharraf was never serious about winding up his terror machine in Kashmir has been clear from the beginning. Musharraf played charade with India in the same manner that he does with the West, which has been far too indulgent (bank rolling all his military and other major expenses) towards him than is necessary under the circumstances. Even with all his inherent guile Musharraf cannot help but give his game away in some of his interviews that he religiously grants to the fawning Western press. With his typical swagger he told the CNN that he had broken the back of the terrorist and radical groups in Pakistan. 'Since the assassination attempt on me, we certainly are winning..... I would say that....I feel more secure,' boasted the man with some glee. Of course, he has every reason to feel 'secure'. The groups, which were allegedly after his life, could be tamed or liquidated because most of them are off spring of his own ISI. But what Musharraf deliberately forgets is that he had assured the world, including India that he would wipe out the 'entire' network of terrorists operating from Pakistan or the Kashmiri territories under its control. That he has not done and henceforth the Indian Government would do well to press the point more strongly with the Pakistani dictator. It is not that India alone says that Musharraf has not fulfilled his promise. A report on the status of recommendations made by the 9-11 Commission in the US has clearly stated that Pakistan continues to be a sanctuary and training ground for terrorists. Asking Washington to put more pressure on Musharraf to stop the menace of terrorism flowing from his territories, the report noted with some 'disappointment' that the Pakistani president has not done enough and he has not lived up to his promise to regulate the madrassas or religious seminaries properly. These terrorists head not just for India but Afghanistan too and the report observed: 'Taliban forces still pass freely across Pakistan - Afghanistan border and operate in Pakistani tribal areas.' Where India is concerned investigations into the recent incidents of terrorist attacks have established that Pakistan has done nothing to close down the terrorist training camps. Wireless intercepts by intelligence agencies and statements made by arrested militants are said to have provided tons of fresh information about the patronage that Pakistan officially extends to terrorists. The catastrophic earthquake might have caused some physical damage to the terrorist infrastructure but they were restored quickly with the aid of the Pakistani army which otherwise proved to be heartless when it came to helping the Kashmiri victims of the October 8 quake. The Government keeps maintaining that the activities of terrorists will not hamper the peace process with Pakistan. But it will be a mistake to ignore the strong public sentiments which have been aroused by the frequency of terrorist attacks, each of which with a clear Pakistani imprint. In fact, the responsibility for the car bomb attack on the day Ghulam Nabi Azad was taking over from Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was taken by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist outfit raised by a man released from an Indian prison by the NDA Government. After a suicide attack at Srinagar's Lal Chowk, the police was able to catch a suicide attacker, a 20-year-old Pakistani youth. The arrests made in connection with the Delhi blasts have shown a 'foreign' hand that among other things had sent Rs. 15 lakh to the prime suspect, Tariq Ahmed Dar, days before the Sarojini Nagar blast in Delhi. The Pakistanis and Kashmiri militants trained by Pakistan continue to cross the LoC, bringing in a deadly cargo to be used for killing innocent civilians in pursuance of the Pakistani dream of annexing Kashmir from India. The opening of five points along the LoC will come in handy for the Pakistanis entering India with evil designs. It may be recalled that some of the Pakistanis who had 'disappeared' after their cricket visa for witnessing an India-Pakistan match in India had expired had taken part in some of the anti-India activities and acts of terrorism in the country. Pakistan rarely lets go an opportunity to exploit any situation for its nefarious purposes. The softening of the LoC may please the ordinary Kashmiris on either side of the line but clearly the Government of India has to be extra vigilant about its misuse by the Pakistanis. Indians expect their Government to take extra precautions when allowing people from Pakistan or PoK to enter India and it has to be made sure that all of them return.