Pak won''t reduce ties with J&K militants
23 March 2002
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak
New Delhi: The ruling military regime in Islamabad has turned down the idea calling for steps to reduce ties with Islamic militants in Jammu and Kashmir. The idea, mooted by the US Administration, was discussed by Pakistan President and military ruler, Gen Parvez Musharraf, with his council of ministers in the first place and later with Army commanders. The idea was rejected after what a section of Pakistani media described as ''emergence of consensus'' during the discussions against any move seeking reduction of Pakistanís support to ''freedom fighters'' in Kashmir. If Pakistanís powerful intelligence service, better known as ISI had been advised to reduce ties with the Islamic militants in Afghanistan, J&K based Islamic militants will continue to receive aid and advise from Pakistan. Reports from Karachi and Islamabad insisted that there was little substance in the speculation vis-a-vis the military regimeís plan to reduce the size of the ISI. The move seeking reduction of Pakistani officials agenciesí ties with Islamic militants in Afghanistan will not result in the transfer of perhaps forty per cent of forces assigned to the secretive organisation, the ISI which draws its manpower from the military. The organisationsí size is an official secret but some Pakistani officials have been quoted as saying that the organisation comprised a force of perhaps 10,000. The ISI is one of the Pakistanís most powerful forces. Pak media reports have admitted that quests by the American Government and forces within Pakistan continue to insist on its reform. The senior officers of the Afghanistan unit of the ISI have been transferred. The Afghanistan department, these reports said, appeared to have been shut down entirely. '' It is proving more difficult to cut off what has been a steady flow of covert intelligence and other support for militants in Kashmir.'' For years, the ISI has also been the principal liasion with the Islamic militants fighting in Kashmir, including groups regarded by the United States as terrorist organisations.