July 2002 News

Pak uses infiltration to extract sops

14 July 2002
The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Saturday night’s massacre in Jammu is the clearest signal yet that Pakistan is not ready to abandon terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy. A little over a month after Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf pledged to permanently end infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC), Indian officials say the situation remains unsatisfactory. According to an informed source, ‘‘Infiltration has come down roughly 30 per cent in the past month or so, but some disturbing questions remain.’’ First, says the official, is the extent of infiltration that continues, and second is the retention by Pakistan of the infrastructure of the ‘launch and training camps’ across the LoC. ‘‘Wireless traffic came down for a while, but it is back to normal — yet another pointer to the fact that Pakistan retains the capacity to restore infiltration to its former levels.’’ On Saturday, external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha confirmed this and said the decline that took place last month ‘‘had actually evaporated and fresh incursions were noted’’. He said Pakistan had not taken any ‘‘worthwhile steps’’ to dismantle the infrastructure supporting terrorism. Just how this seems to work became apparent in the last week of June when, following one of Musharraf’s particularly virulent speeches, infiltration suddenly displayed a marked upswing, the official said. The speech in question was the one delivered on June 22 when in an interview to the BBC, Musharraf rejected India’s de-escalatory measures saying India was not doing Pakistan a favour by taking these steps. He also repeated his familiar theme of ‘‘teaching India a lesson’’. The strategy being followed by Islamabad is to use the infiltration tap to extract more concessions out of Washington and New Delhi. This is the reason why Musharraf is so dismissive of the de-escalation steps India has taken till now. Islamabad will insist on an Indian commitment to resume dialogue before it takes other demonstrable steps, and even then it will not really end support to terrorists in Kashmir. ‘‘Musharraf has been so weakened within that he feels that giving concessions on the so- called Kashmir struggle will be suicidal,’’ says an intelligence analyst here. Intelligence officials say their assessments of Pakistani activity are not being challenged by their western counterparts, though official spokespersons are giving a different gloss to the situation.


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