Pakistan Rejects India's Charges Of Infiltration
4 August 2005
Islamabad: Pakistan rejected on Thursday Indian allegations that Islamist guerrillas were congregating in training camps close to a ceasefire line dividing the disputed territory of Kashmir. Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Naeem Khan said India had made the claim to justify deploying more troops to fight the insurgency inside Kashmir. 'We reject these baseless allegations,' he told Reuters. Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday a large number of militant training camps had been activated on the Pakistani side of the ceasefire line and that guerrillas were poised to infiltrate into Indian territory. Mukherjee's comments reflected India's growing concern about violence in Kashmir after its army reported a surge in infiltration last month and said it killed dozens of militants. However, on Thursday, Indian Kashmir's chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Syed, chose to put a more positive gloss on events, highlighting a fall in violence and infiltration in the first seven months of the year compared to the year before. 'There are ups and downs in the Kashmir situation, the violent incidents and infiltration continue, but there is a 25-percent decrease in overall militant violence,' he told a news conference in Srinagar, capital of Indian Kashmir. Syed said there had been 1,200 violent incidents this year, from 1,600 in the same period last year. Despite some high-profile attacks in Srinagar recently, Syed said things were improving - thanks to the India-Pakistan peace process. 'It is necessary that the peace process must go on,' he said. 'The change in situation is due to the reconciliation process.' Pakistani current affairs magazine 'The Herald' in a July edition cover story titled 'Back to Camp', described how militant organisations had reopened camps in northwestern Pakistan. Last Friday, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf sought to allay Indian concerns over such reports, saying the situation was 'on the mend'. Musharraf also sought to dispel impressions that relations between South Asia's nuclear-armed rivals, which went to the brink of a fourth war in 2002, were cooling and said a 19-month-old peace process would continue. India accuses Pakistan of arming, abetting and sending militants across the ceasefire line to fight Indian rule in Kashmir, where tens of thousands of people have been killed in an insurgency that began in 1989. Pakistan says it provides only moral, diplomatic and political support to a Kashmiri freedom movement, and accuses the Indian army of human rights violations. Rivalry over Kashmir has caused two of the three wars between Pakistan and India since their independence from Britain in 1947.