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US tells Pak to check J&K ultras

US tells Pak to check J&K ultras

Author: B L Kak
Publication: The Daily Excelsior
Date: May 11, 2002

The United States has made it clear to Pakistan that it does not want any kind of support to or leniency towards the militants and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Washington's latest message, precisely, calls for " prompt and potent" steps by Islamabad in this regard.

India's Foreign Office has just received inputs from Washington, stating that the Bush Administration has asked Pakistan to curb militant infiltration and exercise "utmost restraint" in Jammu and Kashmir. Washington's move apparently is to facilitate resumption of talks between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The message while voicing the Bush administration's "hope" for willingness by both India and Pakistan to resume the stalled dialogue "on all issues, including Kashmir" was unambiguous as it urged Islamabad to curb militant infiltration and to exercise utmost restraint in Kashmir.

The United States seems keen to lessen what Washington has termed as " danger of war between India and Pakistan. Nearly, a million India and Pakistani troops have been deployed along the long, winding borders of the two countries following December 13 attack on Indian Parliament, creating tensions and fear of war.

Washington's message, urging Pakistan to check ultras in Jammu and Kashmir, came to be circulated at a time when former chief of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Prof Hafeez Mohammed Saeed, emphasized that Kashmir could be "liberated only through Jihad". Pakistan's Urdu daily " Ausaf, had also quoted him as saying that the Mujahideen in Kashmir " will not stop until they achieve their goal of liberating Kashmir from India".

These were the first comments attributed to Prof Saeed after his recent release from the custody by Pakistan Government. He was arrested by Musharraf Government days after December 13 attack on Parliament House in Delhi under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) on charges of making inflammatory speeches. Under MPO, a person can be detained only for 90 days and when the period expires, he was released from custody.

In another significant development, even the Musharraf Government was forced to disband nearly 30 junior-level militancy offices who were involved in promoting a global jehad, no visible drop could be ensured in cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir so far highly placed sources in the security establishment say that Pakistan appears to have taken this decision under the pressure from Bush administration. Most of these were of the rank of Captain and Major.

It is, however, not clear whether these officers were involved in Kashmir operations or were overseeing Jihad activities for the Pakistan intelligence in other trouble spots, such as Aghanistan. Sources said that New Delhi had reasons to be vigilant as Pakistan had, in recent days, eased the pressure on terrorist groups operating from its soil.

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