March 2003 News

ISI Poised To Dislodge Salahuddin, Appoint 'Gen. Abdullah'

13 March 2003
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak

Jammu: An escapee from a Government-run hospital in Srinagar has carved out an important place for himself in Pakistan. He has been reported to have egged Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) on to utilise him for injecting 'fresh' life into the 'bewildered' cadres of 'indigenous freedom fighters' in Kashmir. The anti-India rebel, who escaped from the SMHS hospital, not long ago, is 'General Abdullah'. His real name, in fact, is Ghulam Rasool. After his detention in the Srinagar Central Jail, Ghulam Rasool reportedly developed 'serious' health problems. No wonder, this was followed by his transfer to the SMHS hospital for medical treatment. He didn't take long to practice deceit on the local police personnel, who had been commissioned to keep an eye on him. He created history with his successful accomplishment of the two targets-one, to flee from the hospital, and, second, to cross over to Pakistan. In Pakistan, he became the ISI's favourite and continued to be addressed as 'General Abdullah'. A sensational intelligence input clearly suggests the growing possibility of a change in the top leadership of the Pakistan-based conglomerate of militant outfits, better known as United Jehad Council. If this input, just furnished to the Government, is any guide, Pakistan's ISI does not want Hizbul Mujahideen's present chief, Syed Salahuddin, to continue to operate as the chairman of the UJC (United Jehad Council). The stage is being for 'General Abdullah' to take over from Syed Salahuddin as the UJC chairman. Why does the ISI want to change the top leadership of the UJC? An answer to this question is not far to seek. In the first place, some militant outfits, which form part of the UJC amalgam in Pakistan, have already voiced displeasure at the controversial role of Syed Salahuddin. Second, 'General Abdullah' has been reported to be 'popular' among many critics of Syed Salahuddin in the Valley. Since the principal role of the UJC is to monitor and control activities of ultras in Jammu and Kashmir, the ISI, according to Pakistan-watchers, will like to have a person, who is less controversial than that of Syed Salahuddin, as the new chairman of the conglomerate. Another set of inputs from across the border suggested the likelihood of the Pak military's axe falling on the present Prime Minister of PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir), Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan. Two top military officers- one retired and the other serving-are reported to have joined hands against him and his supporters in the PoK Government and bureaucracy. The retired Army officer is none other than the PoK President, Major-General Mohammed Anwar Khan. And the serving military officer is Major-General Wasin Ashraf, at present operating as GOC at Murree. This officer, significantly, is looking after the PoK affairs. According to intelligence reports, first indication with regard to behind-the-scene preparations to ease out the present PoK Premier surfaced the other day when Major-General Wasin Ashraf virtually ordered Sardar Sikandar Hayat to submit to him his own and his Government's performance report.


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