By Naveen Kapoor
New Delhi, May 7 : In a startling revelation, senior leaders and intelligentsia from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have told ANI that the terrorist infrastructure in the area is still intact, and there is every chance of the militants regrouping and attempting to launch fresh attacks on Indian soil.
Arif Shahid, the general secretary of the All Party National Alliance (APNA), exclusively told ANI that only international pressure was restraining these sinister elements from carrying out their nefarious and dastardly plans.
"We have been saying that the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is still present. It is only due to international pressure and the formation of a new democratically elected government in Islamabad, that these elements are passive. Citing the recent explosions in terrorist training camps of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Muzaffarabad as proof of their existence, Shahid further said: "The (Pakistan) government says these explosions were caused by a gas cylinder burst, but then why was the entire area sealed? No media and no foreign analysts were allowed to enter."
"We've been crying ourselves hoarse and asking Islamabad to throw these jihadis out of our land. We don't want them here. But our repeated pleas have been falling on deaf ears. Extremist elements in Pakistan continue to lure the youths towards jihad. Not just this, ISI continues to get foreign nationals - Afghans, Saudis and Arabs - for Kashmir jihad," he said, adding that some of these training camps were running under the garb of hospitals. Former Chief Justice of the High Court in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Majid Malik, endorsed Shahid's view by saying that it was a difficult task to get established separatists and militants back into the mainstream, and suggested a rehabilitation programme acceptable to all concerned parties as a possible solution to ending a constant threat.
"The people who are established there, cannot be called back. They should also be taken onboard and should be included in the peace talks, referring to ongoing composite dialogue process between Pakistan and India, which enters its fourth phase in a fortnight from now.
There are believed to be at least 36 terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, housing about 3,660 cadres. The majority of these camps are located in Muzaffarabad and Kotli. The Lashkar-e-Toiba maintains, among others, the Danna and Abdul-Bin-Masud camps in Muzaffarabad and the Badli camp in Kotli with 500, 300 and 300 cadres respectively.
Similarly, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has, among others, the Jangal Mangal camp in Muzaffarabad and another one at Mangla with at least 300 cadres each.
But the Pakistan Government has repeatedly rebutted suggestions of these camps being in existence, adding that such allegations are baseless and unfounded.
The visiting leaders also voiced their scepticism about the future of the new ruling coalition in Pakistan, and its efficacy in minimizing the role of Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. They also condemned the chronic role of successive Pakistani establishments in transforming the freedom struggle into a 'proxy war' by engaging outside forces.
As M M Khajooria, former Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, has been quoted as saying: "Any impartial analysis of the ground situation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir reveals that the terrorists have the capability and firepower to take on the (Indian and Pakistani) security forces at any time. The initiative to accelerate or to slow down violence is in their hands. Their infrastructure is intact. In fact, it has been updated."
India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon will be in Islamabad from May 19 to 21 for talks with their Pakistani counterparts, talks that aim to take the stalled composite dialogue process forward. eaders of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were here to attend a two-day conclave on Kashmir. Senior Kashmir leaders from India, including Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, JKLF leader Yasin Malik and moderate Sajjad Lone also attended the conference held on the outskirts of the national capital Delhi.
his latest revelation by the PoK leaders is sure to add intensity to the repeated allegations made by the India security establishment that Pakistani intelligence agencies is still the breeding ground for the so-called Jihad.
It suggests that the already fragile Pakistan-India peace process will have a shadow over it, as Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee lands in Islamabad for the next steps.