Pakistan Occupied Kashmir To Honour J&K Militants

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir To Honour J&K Militants

4 March 2012
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: The self-styled prime minister of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Chaudhary Abdul Majid, has hit a raw nerve by announcing the plan to set up a memorial for “martyrs”, including militants who were killed by security forces in restive Jammu and Kashmir. Majid has formed a committee headed by the PoK finance minister Chaudhry Latif Akbar, which will select the location, prepare the design and overlook the construction work of the memorial to be built, possibly in Muzaffarabad (the capital of PoK). This follows Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s letter to Chaudhary, suggesting the establishment of a martyrs’ memorial in Muzaffarabad, akin to the Holocaust memorial in Europe. “After the world war, every European city housed war memorials and museums...it is our duty to have a similar memorial for the people who have sacrificed since 1947,” wrote Geelani in his letter to Chaudhary Majid. Soon after, the PoK prime minister wrote back to the Hurriyat hawk, assuring him that the memorial would be built to respect the sacrifices given by the people for the “freedom struggle” in Jammu and Kashmir. “I assure you that this memorial will be inclusive, and even more popular than those built in European countries. It will remind coming generations of the umpteen sacrifices given by the people,” reads the PoK PM’s letter to Hurriyat hawk. What has raised hackles is that the memorial will also eulogise militants who were killed in different encounters with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. “It will also include the mujahideen (militants), who are our national heroes and have given umpteen sacrifices for freedom. They have a special place in our hearts,” said Ayaz Akbar, the spokesman of the Geelani led hard-line faction of Hurriyat. New Delhi classifies militants who have been armed and trained by Pakistan to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir as ‘terrorists’. Official figures reveal that 43,460 people have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir from 1990 to 2010. They include 21,323 militants killed by security forces in different encounters, 13,226 civilians killed by militants, 3,642 civilians killed by security forces, and 5,369 security and policemen killed by militants. However, separatists claim a lakh have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 22 years of turmoil alone. PoK is the base camp for militants and separatists to carry out anti-India propaganda and activities. It also houses the headquarters of United Jihad Council, the umbrella group of militant outfits, operating in Jammu and Kashmir. Several militant commanders wanted by security forces are also hiding in PoK. Besides this, dozens of militant training camps are operational in PoK.