Kashmir Terrorists Get Pay Hike16 May 2010
Times of India
New Delhi: Kashmiri terrorists and refugees from Jammu and Kashmir in PoK have both received a pay hike. According to the latest inputs from various agencies, Pakistani authorities are now offering terrorists coming to fight in J&K a monthly salary in the range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000. This is a huge jump from the average pay of Rs 5,000 they were getting earlier. The reason for this benevolence is not hard to imagine. There has been a drastic drop in violence levels in J&K and militancy needs a desperate revival if the separatist agenda has to continue to grab global attention. The number of terrorists operating in J&K is now hovering around 700, an all-time low since militancy erupted in the state in the late 80s. The desperation among terror groups is also visible in the return of Furqan, one of the seniormost Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who had been the group's launch commander based in PoK for some years now. He infiltrated into J&K in April-end with a group but the Army was able to intercept them. Furqan is believed to have successfully evaded the Army and entered the state. His return, after more than four years, is being seen as a sign of LeT's desperation to carry out a few sensational attacks. It is not just the Kashmiri militants who got pay hikes in recent days. Those staying back in refugee camps of PoK too have been given increased financial benefits. From Rs 1,800 per month, their financial allowance has gone up to Rs 2,400 a month early this year, sources said. Thousands of Kashmiri youth have moved across the border to PoK in the past two decades for the explicit purpose of becoming trained militants. But many of them have stayed back in refugee maintenance camps run by the Pakistan government, some marrying local girls, and many starting small businesses. There are no clear numbers, but some estimates say as many as 30,000 could be in PoK, holding state subject facility cards which grants them certain rights. While inflation is an obvious reason for the hike in monthly allowance for the refugees, the desire of many of them to return to India may have also been a reason for increasing the allowance, officials speculate. In 2007, when Indian government opened up a liberal surrender policy for Kashmir, almost 150 of them came back. After a year, the policy was tightened, but sources now say that they are looking at revising it. An exodus of these refugees from PoK to J&K would hit Pakistan's image, say officials.