July 2001 News

Pak version of Track-II: Infiltration increases

10 July 2001
The Pioneer
Rahul Datta

New Delhi: Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf says he is ready to be "open and flexible" in the Agra summit. But on infiltration of militants into Jammu and Kashmir, his policy remains age-old and hard- line. Top security officials, dealing with border management, said Gen Musharraf was clearly adopting a two-track policy wherein diplomacy went hand-in-glove with moves to increase infiltration in the Kashmir Valley. The figures are telling. June this year saw more than 280 incidents of infiltration as compared to less than 240 for the same month last year. May has also proved to be torrid for the security forces with 245 infiltration incidents compared to 130 last year. Similarly, April recorded 110 infiltrations and this figure stood at less than 60 last year. All this apart from the undetected infiltrations. The daring of militant organisations has been reflected in two frontal attacks on Army convoys on the Jammu- Srinagar Highway last week. What Gen Musharraf wants to convey to the Indian Government is that it is in his capacity to step up violence in the state. The levers are in his hands. Top security officials said there was always close coordination between the Pakistan Army and the militant groups. The Army is completely in the know of events, now even more than before, they say. Indian security forces do not see any change on the ground to support expectations that the Agra summit could yield results. The assessment of the security forces is that if the talks are going to be Kashmir-centric - as Gen Musharraf wants - then the exercise is bound to fail. The forces feel that the various confidence building measures announced are unlikely to make an impact on the jehadi school of opinion. The perception in the Valley tends to go along with Pakistani propaganda that the summit is happening due to US pressure. The forces are also not prepared to make much of the statements by Hizbul Mujahideen seeking a 'safe passage" for the Amarnath yatra. There was considerable local pressure to spare the yatra as its disruption would hit the economy along the route which is vital for the local populace. While admitting the fact that infiltration is higher in the summer months, the comparative figures for this year, however, raise concern. Security forces feel that the Government's spin doctors should "prepare" the ground for pinning the failure of the summit onto Pakistan's complete intransigence. In the circumstances, it would perhaps be well advised to allow Gen Musharraf to return empty- handed rather than be tempted to go in for dangerous tokenism.


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