February 2000 News

UK holds Pak responsible for Kashmir instability

8 February 2000
Daily Excelsior

NEW DELHI: The British Government has, for the first time, named Pakistan for instability in Kashmir. Indian High Commission in London has informed New Delhi that the British Government has formally expressed itself against Islamabadís warm flirtations with some terrorist outfits.

At a time when the Government of India is building a strong case in support of its demand favouring classification of Pakistan as a "terrorist State", the British Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Peter Hain, has made the most unequivocal charge against Islamabad: "Pakistanís cross-border terrorism is proving to be an enormous threat to the stability in Kashmir".

The London-based Indian High Commission is learnt to have also informed New Delhi that the British Government continues to take much interest in various events and happenings in Jammu and Kashmir and that the British Government does not want Pakistan to further vitiate the atmosphere and encourage trigger-happy terrorists.

According to the Indian High Commission, the British Government seems to have decided to mediate only when both New Delhi and Islamabad called for such an exercise. Britainís Chief of Defence Staff was recently sent to Pakistan to urge the military ruler, Gen Pervez Musharraf, to cry a halt to terrorism.

Following the talks between the Pak military ruler and Britainís Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Guthrie, the British Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Peter Hain, told the House of Commons: "We particularly look to General Musharraf, who is widely seen as the author of the Kargil incident last year, to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again".

Happily for New Delhi, the British Government now believes what India has been saying for a long time about the terrorists coming from Pakistan with the active support of Islamabad. Significantly, the British Government also views that Gen Musharraf was behind the Kargil intrusion. Baroness Scotland of Asthal has been reported to have publicly stated in London that Gen Musharraf would be required to renounce the option of military aggression over Kashmir and to make every move towards reducing tensions with India.

The statement of Baroness Scotland came after the concerted efforts of several British MPs and peers for some form of recognition and endorsement of the military regime in Pakistan. Significantly, these efforts only led to a more determined and formally-stated anti-coup and anti-military rule stand by the British Government. If there was any doubt about it, it was set at rest by the British Foreign Secretary, Mr Robin Cook, who has placed himself on record to say: "We await the return of democracy in Pakistan, both on the map and the calendar, and I hope that General Musharraf will meet his own commitment in the near future".

At a time when the Government of India-the Home Ministry, to be precise-is examining "vital" inputs furnished by the J&K Government on the foreign contributions received by a set of secessionist leaders in Kashmir, a foreign intelligence agency is said to have informed New Delhi that Mr Hashim Qureshi, the infamous hijacker of an Indian Airlines Fokker Friendship plane in 1971 prior to the Indo-Pakistan war in December that year, has, over the years, gathered "highly sensational" evidence about the clandestine flow of crores of rupees into the pockets of different Muslim leaders in Kashmir.

Mr Hashim Qureshi has been quoted by the intelligence agency as having alleged that Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference(APHC) and senior most leader of the right-wing Jamaat-I-Islami, had collected Rs 10 crores in the name of Chrar-e-Sharief. Huge funds had been raised abroad in the name of Kashmir between 1989 and 1999. Mr Qureshi has charged that the money was collected for relief work in Kashmir but most of it went into clandestine accounts of Jamaat-I-Islami leaders as well as other militant leaders of Indian Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The unidentified foreign intelligence agency had received written documents from Mr Hashim Qureshi, clearly stating that the Jamaat along with its military wing, Hizbul Mujahideen, collected crores of rupees in the USA and Europe, mainly the UK and Saudi Arabia. The Jamaat-I-Islami, Mr Qureshi has written, got huge funds from Pakistan and also raised finances abroad through its front organisations, namely, two main outfits run by Mr Ghulam Nabi Fai in the United States and Mr Ayub Thakur in the UK.

The agency has quoted Mr Qureshi as saying: "It has become an annual ritual for the Jamaat and other militant leaders to run fund-raising campaigns during the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Most of these funds have been siphoned away by the Hurriyat leaders, militant commanders and PoK leaders such as Amanullah Khan and Sardar Qayum Khan


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