February 2000 News

Pak. trying to provoke crisis in J&K: Pallone

9 February 2000
The Hindu
By Sridhar Krishnaswami

WASHINGTON: The Democratic Congressman, Mr. Frank Pallone, has flayed Pakistan for trying to provoke a crisis in Kashmir, ``to essentially pick a fight with India with results that could be destabilising and devastating for the region and the entire world''. Rejecting Islamabad's terminology of a ``liberation'' campaign waged by ``freedom fighters'' in Kashmir and terming it a ``violent terrorist campaign, pure and simple'', Mr. Pallone said Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, had publicly pledged support for terrorist groups fighting in Jammu and Kashmir, the same groups who committed atrocities against Kashmiri Pandits.

Speaking in the House of Representatives, Mr. Pallone, a friend of India on Capitol Hill, said the U.S. had not done enough to show its opposition to the military takeover in Pakistan and that the House Resolution condemning the coup had still not come to the Floor of the House.

``The problem is that the military government has no legitimacy and can only stay in power as long as it whips up hatred against India by citing Kashmir. That's why the Generals started the Kargil war. That's why they encouraged the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane. And that's why they continue the campaign against a multi-ethnic and religious State and contribute to the murder of innocent Kashmiri Pandits. The end result of the Generals' provocations will be another war with India over Kashmir - and the problem is that the Generals now control nuclear weapons they could unleash in such a war,'' he said.

``The U.S. must send an unequivocal message that this continued provocation in Kashmir by the Pakistani military regime is unacceptable. At a minimum, the President should not visit Pakistan during his trip to South Asia. The State Department should declare Pakistan a terrorist state and make it clear that there will be no further contact with the Pakistani Government until it stops its provocative actions in Kashmir and takes steps to restore democracy in Pakistan,'' Mr. Pallone said.


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