'Runaways' Claim Terror Tap Still On
14 September 2003
The Indian Express
Kahangarh: A few bomb blasts, some killings and lots of terror. All for Rs 10,000 a month, and some sophisticated weapons. That was the deal the ISI brokered with two poor youths from Kashmir valley who claim they were kidnapped by the Hizbul Mujahideen and taken to a training camp at Muzaffarabad in PoK. Nabbed by the BSF while trying to cross the border from Wagah this noon, the duo has raised a question mark over Pakistan's claim that it has no terrorist camps on its soil. The two youths said there were at least 300-350 youngsters, 40 per cent of them Kashmiris, who were undergoing training at the camp in PoK. Mukhtyar Ahmed Sofi of Rainwari and Arshad Ahmed Mir of Vainka in Pulwama district were nabbed by the BSF while trying to cross over through paddy fields near Wagah. Interestingly, the Rangers demanded the boys back from the BSF, claiming they were Pakistanis and even called a flag meeting for this purpose. The duo said they had gone for a picnic with two friends to Gulmarg on August 19 when they were waylaid by gun-toting Hizbul men who took them across the border to POK. They faked illness and reached Lahore by bus on September 12 from where they came to Wagah. The camp at Muzaffarbad had around 300 youths, who were trained round-the-clock. Their day used to begin with a brisk long-distance run followed by indoctrination of Jihad by clergymen. It was after six days of their stay at the camp that Arshi and Mukhtiar were issued passes along with some money to buy shoes, etc. It was this they saved for their escape. The duo said the camp was run by one Khalid Sahib, who told them that they would be paid Rs 10,000 a month besides weapons if they returned to Kashmir and lobbed grenades on military and civil establishments. Later, he also got their names and addresses registered with the ISI. Interestingly, BSF and the Rangers held a flag meeting at Wagah on Sunday The Rangers requested that the youths be handed back to them while the BSF asked for proof of their Pakistani nationality. The Rangers were assured that any Pakistani national crossing over to India would be returned. IG (BSF) H.S. Gill said the boys will be duly handed over to their parents soon.