Kashmiri ultras backed by Pak Army
22 July 2001
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: MILITANT OUTFITS carrying out violent activities in Jammu and Kashmir have been created and run by Pakistan''s secret agencies, a top leader of Pakistan''s Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam, which claims to be non- militant, has said. ''Let''s be clear on one thing - these jihadi groups can''t function and survive without official patronage. Is there a single militant training centre in Pakistan which can operate without the consent of the Pakistan Army? All militant groups are created and run by Pakistan''s secret agencies,'' Jamiat''s secretary general Khalid Mehmood Soomro said in an interview to a Pakistani news magazine The Herald. ''They have mobile phones, Land Cruisers and weapons. Where are they getting the funds from? Surely, it can''t all be funded through public donations. Because if that were so, we would be getting similar donations, if not more, given our long-standing presence in Sindh,'' Soomro said. Stating that ''personally, I am against the existence of jihadi groups in Pakistan'', he said, ''I believe they are backed by the secret agencies.'' ''Why is the Pakistan Army not fighting for Kashmir? Why are they getting our youth killed there? They are using our young men for their own goals,'' the Jamiat leader said. ''What is the point of spending such a large portion of the country''s budget on the army when they are not willing to fight,'' the Jamiat leader said. He said army cantonment areas in Pakistan had ''become islands of all sorts of activities. Will they leave all that and fight tomorrow when the threat arises? Is that what Pakistan was created for?'' Soomro said the military establishment ''blames everything on RAW agents and the much-touted foreign hand. Meanwhile, who is guarding our borders?'' He said his organisation, which has a large base in the Sindh province, has been asking students ''to stay in madrassas and focus on education'' . In the interview, the Jamiat leader denied his outfit''s involvement in Afghanistan''s jihad and claimed none of its activists had been given arms training. However, he said ''if someone voluntarily joins jihad, they are free to do so but we as a political party do not take responsibility for it. We don''t have a militant wing.''