March 2001 News

J&K ultras meet in S Arabia denied

8 March 2001
The Pioneer
Rahul Datta

New Delhi: The Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Parvez Musharraf praised the role of Saudi Arabia in trying to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. India, however, denied reports that Kashmiri militants had met Islamic fundamentalist organisations in Saudi Arabia in the last few months. General Musharraf made this statement after returning to Islamabad on Wednesday from a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia. He lauded the Saudi efforts in solving the Kashmir issue and other problems facing South-East Asia. Incidentally, the Junta leader had visited Saudi Arabia only last month. Pakistani officials said General Musharraf had gone to Saudi Arabia this time to perform Haj. Experts analysing the Kashmir issue, however, said that there was more to this visit than meets the eye. Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Panja, meanwhile, informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that no meeting had taken place between the Kashmir militants and Islamic organisations of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia for the past few months. There were unconfirmed reports about two months back that the Indian Government had allowed certain militants to go to Saudi Arabia to talk with Pakistan based militants in a bid to find a way to start a dialogue. Informing the House through a written reply, Mr Panja said that India was making constant efforts to sensitise the British Government about the growing activities of anti-Indian militant groups in the United Kingdom. Describing the British response as "encouraging", Mr Panja told the House that UK had included terrorist groups such as Harkat-ul -Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, International Sikh Youth Federation, Babbar Khalsa and LTTE in the first draft list of organisations to be proscribed under the new British Terrorism Act. The Minister quoted British Home Secretary, Jack Straw as having stated that "UK has no intention of becoming a base for terrorists and their supporters, nor to see it flourish abroad and we will take every legal action at our disposal to prevent this".


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