Kashmiri militant escapes from terror camp with Pakistani wife10 May 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: A Kashmiri militant trekked 10 days in forests and mountains after his escape from a terror camp in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) along with his Pakistani wife and were captured by the troops of Rashtriya Rifles while trying to breach fencing on the Line of Control (LoC) in Sabjian area of Mandi sector in Poonch district this afternoon. This was the first crossing by a Kashmiri youth from Pakistan into Jammu region after deserting the terror training camp, being run by Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), after announcement of Rehabilitation Policy for such youths by the State Government. Confirming the arrest of Kashmiri militant along with his Pakistani (occupied Kashmir) wife by the troops of 40 Rashtriya Rifles from Nallah Ban Post in Sabjian area of Poonch sector this afternoon, official sources said the troops have handed over the couple to police for questioning, investigations and registration of case. Army decided against questioning the militant during the night as he was accompanied by a girl. Keeping in view its highest traditions, Army handed over the couple to Mandi police well before the night, sources said. They identified the militant as Mohammad Ashraf, 24, son of Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Budgam district in Kashmir Valley and his wife as Asima, 22, daughter of Abdul Subhan R-o Khacharban, Kota in PoK. Ashraf is reported to have married Asima about four to five months back. The State Government had announced a Rehabilitation Policy for Kashmiri youths, who had crossed over to PoK for arms training during last two decades, if they return and surrender wishing to lead a normal life. Only today, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced in Srinagar that the Rehabilitation Policy is in final stage of framing. Sources said troops of 40 Rashtriya Rifles observed movement across the fencing opposite their Nallah Ban Post in Sabjian this afternoon and sounded an alert in the entire sector anticipating infiltration by the militants. However, as the troops spotted a girl along with a militant approaching the fencing, they didn't open firing and allowed the couple to come close to the fencing. Troops apprehended the couple as they came within their reach and took them to a camp where they were subjected to questioning. Mohammad Ashraf is reported to have disclosed that he escaped from terror camp of Kacharban in PoK about 10 days back and took Asima from her house. As Pakistan Army and commanders of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen had noticed Ashraf's escape from the camp, they had started chasing him. Ashraf said he along with Asima spent nearly 10 days in forests and mountains trying to escape Pakistan Army and militants and finally managed to reach towards Indian territory this afternoon. During these 10 days, they had to depend only on dry fruits and some packed food. At the time of arrest, only one cigarette was left in the pocket of Ashraf. The militant said he decided to escape from the camp as he was fed up with militancy during his 11 years stay in PoK. 'I had come to a conclusion that militancy is on the vain and it would be better to return and avail benefits of Rehabilitation Policy of the Government', he is reported to have said during preliminary questioning. According to him, the Rehabilitation Policy of the J&K Government has become a topic of debate among Kashmiri militants held up in PoK. Ashraf disclosed that he was lured into militancy by two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants in 1999 when he was just 13 year old. He crossed over to PoK somewhere from Poonch sector in 1999 summer in a group of 25 militants along with two guides. He was given arms training in Kacharban training camp for several months. He was also trained in driving for a month. Along with other militants, Ashraf also spent some months in madrsaas where he was given lessons on jehad. During all this period, Ashraf said he was paid Rs 2600 per month by Pakistan Army. After training, Pakistan Army used the services of Ashraf for training other militants in different training camps in PoK.