Look who is imposing a ‘deadline’

So General Musharraf has set a ‘deadline’ – August 2004 – before which if India does not make concessions on Kashmir, he will pull out of the peace process. The jehadis are only waiting for his whistle to step up their violence

Soon after the SAARC summit, however, the limited restraints on the Lashkar were lifted. Last month, Saeed was allowed to travel to Islamabad to attend the funeral prayers organised by Pakistani bureaucrat-businessman Zahoor Ahmad Awan, whose son, a Lashkar operative, was killed by Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir. He told the assembly that the fighting in Jammu and Kashmir was “the greatest jihad in the entire history of Islam,” and vowed to continue warfare until “the brutal Indian Army vacates the land of the innocent Kashmiris.”

As important, the Lashkar has again been given considerable freedom to continue building its infrastructure. In the build-up to the Id festival this month, the organisation, now operating under the new label of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, was reported to have raised Rs. 780 million from the sale of the hides of sacrificial animals donated by followers.

Although this activity seems in express violation of the Pakistan Government’s ban on raising funds for jihad-related activities, no real action seems to have been taken against those involved. Just last month, police authorities in New Delhi arrested three members of a Lashkar squad tasked to attack the Indira Gandhi International Airport. According to police officials in Jammu and Kashmir, a little over half of all terrorist acts in the State are now committed by the organisation. [Praveen Swami/The Hindu]

I do not think the week-kneed whispers of disapproval coming from the Indian government will go anywhere with Musharraf. Given the tactical space, Musharraf has indeed gone back to ‘square one’. Even the argument that he is doing this to satisfy his domestic audience is simplistic – as an ally in the war on terror he is supposed to lead his jehad-loving masses onto a path of peace and development. Musharraf means what he is saying. The lesson from all this is that Pakistan is not going to jettison its support for terrorism in Kashmir any time soon.

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Kashmir crops up: But this unexpected spurt of bonhomie does not appear to have pleased the Pakistani military establishment at all. The Musharraf regime worries what might happen to its political agenda of control over Pakistani life — topping which is the Kashmir ‘dispute’ — if the enthusiasm of simple folk were to run ahead of what the Islamabad establishment decrees should be the pace of normalisation. So ‘reality’ has once again been made to intrude.[Hindustan Times]

Anxiety over Kashmir:The president of Pakistan is evidently getting impatient with the seemingly unending stalemate over the Kashmir question. His Tuesday’s statement on the subject was earlier reported as the setting of a deadline for settling the issue, but that impression has since been dispelled. The official spokesman, clarifying the president’s observations, has said that what the president wants is for both Pakistan and India to move forward on Kashmir and resolve the matter. [M H Askari/Dawn]

            Now we know!

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