June 2002 News

Foreign militants in Kashmir detrimental to it: Qayyum

26 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Islamabad: Chairman of Pakistanís National Kashmir Committee Abdul Qayyum says that presence of foreign militants in Kashmir is detrimental to ''Kashmir struggle''. ''I have always been in agreement ... (that) the presence of any foreign elements on soil of Kashmir was detrimental to the Kashmiri cause. We will not promote or encourage any foreign elements there,'' he told BBCís Hardtalk programme. ''If Al- Qaeda is there, it means the area of conflict was expanding. The expansion of the area of conflict is not in the interest of Kashmiris.'' Qayyum, the former president of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, called for a dialogue among Kashmiri leaders on both sides of the Line of Control to resolve the Kashmir issue. Asked about his meeting with Abdul Ghani Lone and Mirwaiz Omer Farooq in Dubai before Lone was gunned down in Srinagar recently, he said it was just accidental as it was never planned. ''We could not plan it because we could not secure visas from the Indian Government. We discussed the (Assembly) elections in Kashmir and measures to reduce tension and create a favourable atmosphere for peaceful resolution of the dispute,'' he said adding the three have given a public statement criticising involvement of foreign militants. Stating that he wanted a peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue, Qayyum said ''I have been suggesting an intra-Kashmiri dialogue and for that the Kashmiri leadership from both sides should be allowed to meet.'' Asked whether there is a guarantee for stopping terrorism in Kashmir, Qayyum said, ''guarantee is the international community. It is an area open for anybody to go and visit particularly the UN military observers have been there.'' Replying to a question he said ''President Musharraf has done what maximum he could do to stop (terrorism). He has done very well. No other President and Prime Minister could have done what President Musharraf has done because he has the backing and support of the army.'' About detention and release of the people belonging to the militant organisations, he said, ''it is part of the strategy to make the people realise that they were doing something wrong. The idea is that some of these people must have realised by now, that they are committed to a wrong concept. In the name of jehad, they were doing something wrong in Kashmir, he said there were some some battle-hardened people who will perhaps remain as they were. Asked whether there were 30,000 people trained as militants by ISI, Qayyum said, ''no, that is not the correct information. They are not trained by ISI. They are people who have been in Afghanistan for so many years and they got training there in camps. The camps were later closed down,'' he said. ''Look at the pattern of the training. That will explain much of what I am saying. It is not the pattern conducted by a highly professionally trained army,'' he said. On reports that elements of ISI were out of the control of the Pakistani Government, he said, ''there could be. All over the world it is the same with the intelligence agencies which sometime become the rulers and assume greater responsibility, like CIA, Mossad.''


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