April 2007 News

Disarm militants, shut terror camps: EU to Pak

1 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior

New Delhi: An amended European Union report on Kashmir has asked Pakistan to disarm militants, shut down terrorist training camps and end the flow of weapons and money to the Taliban and other militants based in Pakistani territory. The report, cleared by the European Parliamentís Foreign Affairs Committee, said Pakistan-based militant groups Lashkar -e-Toiba and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen were continuing operations. It noted that while there has been a steady decline in the number of victims of terror attacks over the past five years, the activities of constantly mutating terrorist groups like the LeT and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen have caused 'hundreds of deaths in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond'. The EU 'recognises that without end to terrorism, there can be no real progress towards a political solution or in improving the economic situation of the population of Jammu and Kashmir', it said. It said the EU 'strongly supports the international crisis groupís recommendation for Pakistan to disarm militants, shut down terrorist training camps, stop terrorist recruitment and training on its territory and end the flow of money and weapons to the Taliban and other foreign or local militants on Pakistani territory'. The new report, which several pro-Islamabad groups tried to scuttle, also said that '...Pakistan has provided Kashmiri militants with training, weapons, funding and sanctuary and has failed to hold the militants accountable for atrocities they have committed on the Indian-administered side'. The report is authored by MP Baronness Nicholson and was recently passed by 60 votes to one by the Foreign Affairs Committee. Nicholson had faced strong criticism for her report 'Kashmir present situation and future prospects', and some groups worked overtime to scuttle it. 'A small number of members worked hard to derail the report, to get rid of it completely. It was a source of deep satisfaction to see that those unhelful views were set aside,' the 66-year-old mp said in an interview. 'I was immensely happy when the result of the final vote was displayed on the Electric Board above our heads. I felt a sense of deep gratitude to my colleagues, who put in immense time and work to understand the reasons behind the powerful pressures to which we all were subjected before the vote,' Nicholson said in replies to questions via e-mail. To a question whether the time had come for any troop reduction in Jammu and Kashmir, she said the amended report 'calls on militant armed groups to declare a ceasefire to be followed by a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration progress and also calls on Pakistan and India to facilitate' such a truce. 'The report with 28 compromised amendments was cleared by the Foreign Affairs Committee with an overwhelming majority of 60 votes in favour of it and a lone vote against it. There were 11 abstentions,' she said. 'Out of these, 28 compromised amendments were agreed on during the voting.' The fresh report will be tabled in the preliminary session of the European Parliament.


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