Army Vetoes Omar Abdullah, Says AFSPA Needed14 May 2011
Srinagar: The army has vetoed Omar Abdullah government’s plan of reviewing the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir saying the law was necessary until the terrorist infrastructure was dismantled across the Line of Control (LoC). Lt General KT Parnaik, general officer commanding in chief Northern Command, said army has submitted its recommendations to the chief minister listing why AFSPA was necessary in J&K. “Obviously the recommendation was that the time is not rife for removal of AFSPA. This was not the single recommendation but there were host of issues which we have spelled out. We have tried to clarify why AFSPA is required in J&K in the larger interest of security. We perceive that unless terrorist infrastructure is dismantled across the LoC, you can’t have sense of lasting peace”, said Lt Gen Parnaik. The Northern Army Commander said the recommendations were made by two core committees formed by the chef minister Omar Abdullah to look into the issue. “Both committees met in February-March and gave recommendations to chief minister and thereafter we have not heard (from the government) on this issue”, he said. On September 29, the J&K government had constituted two committees comprising senior civil and security officers who will carry out a detailed review and submit their recommendation to the apex committee. On March 5, Omar told Legislative Assembly said he was in favor of removing those areas from the ambit of Disturbed Areas Act (DAA), where the situation has improved and there is no requirement of AFSPA. “If situation remains peaceful the Government will remove many areas out of DAA list this year”, he had said. With army making its intentions clear, Omar government is facing a tricky situation how to pacify opposition PDP and separatists who have been gunning for his head over the AFSPA issue. On the possibility of Pakistan’s upping the ante on militancy front in the aftermath of Osama episode, Lt Gen Parnaik said it was quite likely that Pakistan may push in more people into J&K so that attention gets diverted from internal problems to external areas. “It is quietly likely that Pakistan under pressure because of so many questions being asked to them, could adopt strategy of diverting attentions which they always done. One of the ways is to push in more people into J&K. It is apossibility we have to wait and see”, he said. Lt Gen Parnaik said Chinese presence in the neighborhood in PoK is a cause of concern.