August 2000 News

Salahuddin threatens ''major strikes''

11 August 2000
The Hindu
B. Muralidhar Reddy

Islamabad: The Hizbul Mujahideen chief, Syed Salahuddin, has claimed that his organisation would go for ''major strikes'' in the next few days to force the India to hold talks with Pakistan. In an interview to Jang, an Urdu daily, the Hizbul commander was quoted as saying: ''We will resort to heavy shelling in the next couple of days... as has not been done in the last 10 years. India would have to pay a heavy price for rejecting the ceasefire offer.'' Asserting that any dialogue with India on the Kashmir issue would not be acceptable without the involvement of Pakistan, Syed Salahuddin said his organisation decided to go for a ceasefire in response to requests from diplomats of several countries including the United States. He claimed that diplomats of western countries urged the Hizbul to extend the deadline, but his organisation decided against it in view of the ''rigid stand of India''. He has been quoted as saying that India cannot now blame the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, for terrorist activities in Kashmir as India had admitted after the ceasefire announcement that 90 per cent of the attacks are carried out by the Hizbul cadres. In response to a question on the nature of help the Pakistan Army could extend to those engaged in fighting in Kashmir, he has been quoted as saying: ''What help can the Pakistan Army give us? We have seen the results in the past. Had the Pakistan leadership taken timely action, the issue would have been resolved earlier.'' The United Jehadi Council, umbrella organisation of the Pakistan- based militant organisations, has also been quoted in the Urdu papers as saying that it has decided to launch joint strikes against Indian military installations and other institutions. Another Urdu daily, Ausaf, said a joint strategy was being evolved to carry out the strikes.


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