August 2002 News

Infiltration will continue: Militants

31 August 2002
The Indian Express

Muzaffarabad: A Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant group said on Saturday it was still sending jihadis into Kashmir in defiance of President Pervez Musharraf''s attempts to stem cross-border incursions. ''The ban on the cross-border activity by the President of Pakistan has certainly affected our movement across the ceasefire line, but our mujahideen are still crossing it,'' Abd-ur-Rafia, a senior commander of the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen group told Reuters. Since becoming a key ally of the US-led war against terror after the September 11 attacks, Pakistan vowed to halt cross-border incursions into Kashmir. But it has said it is impossible to completely seal the Line of Control. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said during a visit to Islamabad last week that obvious infiltration by militants was continuing across the Line of Control, but Pakistan assured him it was not responsible. ''Our movement across the Line of Control has declined following the ban, but it is not possible for India and Pakistan to completely seal it off given the nature of its difficult terrain,'' said Rafia, almost echoing recent statements from Islamabad. Sheikh Jameel-ur-Rehman, commander of another radical militant group Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, said earlier this week that no amount of troops could stop the movement of militants into Indian- held Kashmir. Both groups are part of the United Jihad Council, an alliance of several Kashmiri militant groups fighting in Kashmir. Rafia''s group has threatened to kill anyone taking part in Kashmir elections. India hopes the elections will boost the legitimacy of its rule in a state that has been convulsed by an insurgency for 13 years. Pakistan has dismissed the polls as ''farcical''. On Friday, Kashmir''s main political alliance of separatists, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, urged the people of the Himalayan region to stay away from the elections.


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