July 2002 News

Pak. continuing support to militancy in J&K

12 July 2002
The Hindu

NEW DELHI: Despite ''reiterated pledges,'' the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, is ''yet to take'' any decisive action to contain the Pakistan-based extremists responsible for violence in Kashmir, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group has said. In its report ''Kashmir: Confrontation and Miscalculation,'' the international think-tank said that the Pakistani security services continued to support home-grown militants in Kashmir. ''As events in May and June 2002 made clear, skirmishes along the Line of Control can quickly escalate into a far more dangerous situation with both New Delhi and Islamabad appearing all too willing to engage in nuclear sabre-rattling,'' the executive summary of the report said. ''With one million Indian and Pakistani troops confronting each other across the LoC and artillery clashes occurring daily, both militaries have remained on high alert, moved heavy armour toward the border and reportedly deployed nuclear-capable missile batteries. Although both sides have taken some steps to climb down from their highest state of readiness, it would take little to escalate tensions again.'' The coming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir were likely to keep the relations between India and Pakistan troubled, the report said. ''India is eager to demonstrate that increasing numbers in this territory are willing to engage in a dialogue with New Delhi about fundamental issues of self-rule and governance and to participate in the Kashmir ballot... In contrast, Pakistan is eager to keep the pressure on India by supporting more militant factions that continue to urge either independence or annexing Kashmir to Pakistan, often through violent means. Pakistan clearly hopes that many political parties and groups in Kashmir will boycott the State Assembly elections. Its deep-rooted desire to avoid anything that would appear to legitimise India''s control of Kashmir could well be pushing it to encourage cross-border incursions as a way to discourage participation in the elections even though provocative steps risk triggering a war.'' The ICG held that both India and Pakistan had been quick to use post-September 11 to their advantage. India tried to portray the challenge in Kashmir as just terrorism, ignoring competing historical claims as well as the ''fundamental question of the competence of Indian administration of Kashmir.'' ''Pakistan, for its part, has sought to use its broad cooperation with the United States on operations in Afghanistan to gain some leeway for maintaining the general policy of adventurism that seeks to bleed Indian resources in Kashmir. In essence, the Musharraf Government seems to be implying that it is at the limits of the steps it can take against extremist groups, and that the West should tolerate cross-border insurgency operations in Kashmir or risk facing a new Government that could be far less accommodating.'' the Group said. ''Militancy in Kashmir and the subsequent heightened risk of an India- Pakistan war will not disappear until many things are done. These include the restoration of genuine democracy in Pakistan and steps by New Delhi to grant political autonomy to Kashmiris, improve their economic well-being, and end all human rights abuses by its security forces in the territory.''.


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