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August 24, 2000
No fresh moves for peace in J&K yet
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The status quo in Jammu & Kashmir following the breakdown of the peace process continues with the government unaware of any fresh move by any terrorist or separatist organisation to resume the dialogue.
"As long as the refrain continues for including Pakistan in the talks, I am afraid they will make little headway. We had emphasised it earlier and there is no change in this position," said a senior home ministry official. He was alluding to what he described as the volte-face of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference, which, after raising hopes for meaningful talks, has slid back to its pro-Pakistan mode.
The official, however, declined to comment on APHC chief Abdul Gani Bhat and former chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani's recent visit to the Pakistani high commission in New Delhi where they met High Commissioner Ashraf Jahangir Qazi and repeated that talks without Islamabad were impossible.
Despite this, South Block has said the government will keep its doors open. Brajesh Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister and national security adviser, is understood to have told the Hurriyat that talks will resume only if it refrains from packaging its known stance in deceptive assertions.
Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani recently criticised the Hurriyat in Parliament, drawing attention to its "negative role" in the abortive peace talks with the Hizbul Mujahideen. On Thursday, Advani expressed the government's resolve to end the "proxy war" unleashed by Pakistan in the state.
Major General (retd) Afsir Karim, who has served in Kashmir, including in anti-insurgency operations, said it was unlikely that Pakistan would stop its cross-border terrorism considering its "consistent internationalisation" of the dispute. He contended that India would have to decisively crush Pakistan to end its mischief.
Maj Gen Karim referred to Hizbul Mujahideen commander Syed Salahuddin's lapsus lingua (slip of the tongue) wherein he said Pakistan was the sole supplier of weapons to militant organisations in Jammu & Kashmir. This is in sharp contrast to the official Pakistani line that the militants get their weaponry and ammunition from other countries and that the insurrection in Jammu & Kashmir is wholly indigenous.
But he pointed out that despite India's repeated attempts to conclusively prove Pakistani involvement in cross-border terrorism, the United States in particular had stopped short of declaring it a state sponsoring terrorism. This was because of Washington's own strategy in the region. Maj Gen Karim has written an authoritative book on Kashmir in which he has dwelt on the American interests in the state.
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra of the School of American Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, said it was inevitable that the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the US in the first week of September would use Syed Salahuddin's statement to "expose the Pakistani lies".
He pointed out that irrespective of the American reaction, India has to keep compiling facts of the Pakistani role in fanning violence in Kashmir till the international community sits up and takes "corrective measures".
"The recent developments in Kashmir have convinced the international community that the massacres of innocent people in the state cannot be done without Pakistan's active connivance. It is for this reason that India has to keep adding facts about the Pakistani involvement till it is no longer possible for the US and others in the international community to keep quiet," Prof Mahapatra pointed out.
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