Resist talks, Pak instructs J-K militants
24 April 2001
New Delhi: The military junta in Pakistan has urged the various Kashmiri groups to resist any move to start a political dialogue with the Indian government and yet maintain a facade of willing to come to the negotiating table. Faced with growing adverse international opinion against Pakistan's role in fomenting trouble in Kashmir, the Corps Commanders" conference in Rawalpindi on Monday decided to adopt this strategy, sources monitoring the Kashmir situation said here on Tuesday. The crucial Corps Commanders" meet urged the Kashmir-based separatist organisations not to respond to the Indian government's invitation for a political dialogue, sources said. The Pakistan Army comprises nine corps and the Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore Corps are the most important. The Rawalpindi Corps, moreover, controls and runs insurgency in Kashmir by imparting training to the militants, supplying them weapons and logistical support and help them in sneaking into India through the Line Of Control (LOC). Helped by the ISI, the Pakistan Army officers wield considerable influence over the militant outfits and force them to toe their line, sources said. The Generals also appreciate the fact that Pakistan is running short of resources in sustaining terrorism in Kashmir. The so-called Jehad is, at present, funded by money generated from the illegal yet hugely profitable narcotics trade. The world community, however, is now increasingly getting critical of Pakistan in this regard and the Corps Commanders talked about it in the meet, it was learnt. Unwilling to let go of the Kashmir issue due to domestic compulsions, the rulers, therefore, decided to lie low or appear to do so for the time being, sources pointed out. The Generals, now directly responsible for running the state of affairs of Pakistan, also decided in Monday's meeting to refrain from entering into an arms race with India at present. The 40-billion dollar foreign debt and a crumbling economy does not allow Pakistan to go on an arms shopping spree. The participants, sources said, favoured maintaining a status quo and not alarm India for the time being. The status of Chief Executive of Pakistan General Parvez Musharraf after the recent Pakistan Supreme Court directive also figured in the conference. The Supreme Court has asked General Musharraf to hold elections in October 2002 and restore civilian rule. Sources said the General is keen to become the President of Pakistan and is busy winning the support and loyalty of the Corps Commanders and the ISI. In fact, General Musharraf, in the recent past, has carried out a major reshuffle in the Pakistan Army by appointing his trusted men at key positions. Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party Hashim Qureshi, meanwhile, asked the Hurriyat Conference and other Kashmiri groups to accept the Planning Commission deputy chairman KC Pant's offer for unconditional talks. Qureshi said the Kashmiris should accept this offer or otherwise it would lead to their isolation. He warned that the international community would not accept the Kashmiris" stand if some dissident groups do not come to the negotiating table. Hashim Qureshi, now lodged in Srinagar jail, appealed to the Hurriyat Conference to appreciate the plight of the Kashmiri people hit hard by the failing economic situation due to the decade long insurgency. The people of the State have to be relieved of their sufferings and every sincere Kashmiri should contribute to it by making an effort of resolving the issues through a dialogue, Qureshi said.