August 2000 News

ISI hand behind inclusion of APHC in dialogue with India

1 August 2000
The Pioneer
Rahul Dutta

New Delhi: The Hizbul Mujahideen leadership has been pushed against its wishes on calling for the inclusion of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in the proposed dialogue with the Indian government . The Hizbul Mujahideen was coerced into co-opting the APHC after the group''s supreme commander Syed Salahuddin was ''visited'' by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan and made to announce the inclusion of the APHC in the dialogue. Salahuddin who escaped to Pakistan from Kashmir in the early 90s and has been living there since then, had not issued any statement on July 24 and 25 when the Hizb announced ceasefire. The anti-US lobby in Pakistan as well as the ISI which had its own objectives was angry over the development and picked up Salahuddin, sources said. He was saved from the ISI clutches when the Pakistan foreign office intervened and informed the Chief Executive Officer General Pervez Musharraff''s office about this development. The CEO''s office was told in plain terms that any hard action against the HM at this juncture would jeopardise relations with the US, sources said. The HM leader, was however let off after he was made to declare some days later that the peace initiative would also include the Hurriyat leaders and Islamabad. The Pakistani scheme of things fell into place as its information minister Javed Jabbar had said on July 26 that India should invite the Hurriyat on its terms. Till then however the HM had not mentioned anything about the inclusion of the Hurriyat, sources said. The Hurriyat leadership, infact, had labelled the ceasefire offer by the HM on the first day as a hasty decision. Things however, changed very fast within the next few days when the ISI mounted pressure on the HM supreme commander and the Hurriyat was included. The Pakistani wing of the HM led by Mohammad Usman announced on July 30 that they had severed all links with their Indian part. The Pakistani Hizb would carry on their armed fight against the Indian security forces, he said, sources revealed. Confusion prevails at the moment within the Pakistani regime and the various insurgent groups it controls. The anti-US lobby view the ceasefire as a sellout under American pressure. The pro-US faction including some cabinet ministers and Army generals want General Musharaff to go ahead with the dialogue, sources said. Pakistan however, officially said on Monday that it did not play any role in the ceasefire initiative, sources said. It was also learnt that the HM no longer enjoyed patronage of the Pakistani agencies. This process had started some months back when the Pakistanis started pumping in more money into other insurgent groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, and Jaish-e-Mohammad. These three groups are comprised of more than 80 percent foreign mercenaries, locally called there as ''jehadis''. These groups were responsible for carrying out terrorist acts in Kashmir in the last one year or so. Their attack parties were always escorted by one or two ''Hizb'' boys hailing from Kashmir, to win local support. These boys also guided them through the mountain passes, provided food and whipped up pro-Pakistani propaganda amongst the Kashmiri populace, sources said.


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