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Jaish chief Masood Azhar barred from entering PoK

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
May 14, 2003 21:13 IST
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Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was barred from entering Pakistan occupied Kashmir on Wednesday.

Azhar, who was released from prison recently, was scheduled to address a meeting in Kotli town in PoK on Thursday, Pakistan's private TV channel Geo reported. The decision to ban him was made by the government to improve the climate for talks between India and Pakistan, the channel added.

The order came nearly a week after the visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Islamabad where he said that President Pervez Musharraf had assured him that there were no terrorist training camps in PoK and if there were any 'they would be gone tomorrow'. India has been consistently saying it will not talk to Pakistan till that country put an end to cross-border terrorism and dismantled all infrastructure used to train terrorists. 

India had released Azhar as part of a deal to end the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar in 1999.

Jaish along with Lashkar-e-Tayiba was banned in Pakistan last year following the attack on Indian Parliament. Azhar and Lashkar leader Hafeez Saeed were held under preventive detention for nearly a year and subsequently released.


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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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