Pak Army Trying To Prevent Surrender By Militants
29 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Baramulla: The Pakistan army is keeping a close watch on militants in 52 training camps across the Line of Control (LoC) to ensure that they do not surrender to Indian authorities, senior Army officials have said. Despite the ongoing peace process, the training camps across the border are still operational and hundreds of trained militants are ready to find their way into the Kashmir valley, they said. The Indian Army has learnt that over 700 Kashmiri youths who have been trained in training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are ready to infiltrate into the Indian side. 'According to our information, there are 52 training camps operational in Pakistan and PoK and five of them are in Muzaffarabad alone,' Brig Narinder Pal Singh Hira, Station Commander of 12 Infantry Brigade said. The Indian Army has a list of Kashmiri boys who crossed the LoC and is in constant touch with their parents to motivate their children to surrender. Hira said the Pakistan army is keeping a close eye on the militants to thwart such efforts. 'The Pakistan Army is imposing strict checks and doesn't give safe routes to militants who cross the LoC to ensure they don't surrender to the Army,' he said. But the Indian Army is hopeful that a majority of Kashmiri youths in Pakistan want to come back and surrender. 'We learnt from militants who surrendered earlier that a majority of Kashmiri boys in PoK want to surrender,' said Hira. 'They tell us that Kashmiri boys in PoK have realised the intentions of Pakistan and the discrimination that they face in such camps have affected their morale to fight and die against the Indian Army,' Hira said. The 12 Brigade mans a 300-km stretch of the LoC in Uri sector. Of the five training camps in Muzaffarabad, four -Boi, Garhi Habbibullah, Butrasi or Jungle Mungle and Khewari - are more active. 'More than 700 boys, mostly Kashmiris who were trained in these camps, are ready to cross the LoC,' said Hira. While the Army prepares to tackle any inflow of infiltrators from PoK, it has reason to be satisfied as the number of youths exfiltrating from the Indian side has shown a steep decline. 'There is a considerable drop in the number of Kashmiris youth who want to exfiltrate to PoK for weapons training there,' said Maj Gen Ramesh Halgali, the Officer Commanding the 19 Infantry Division. The Army also feels the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service has played a major role in bringing about a change in the ground situation. 'Through the bus service, Kashmiri youths across the LoC come to know about the actual condition in the Kashmir valley,' said Hira.