Pakistani Kashmir boils again

Despite their obvious mischief-making, Musharraf’s government takes no action against the jihadi terrorists.

The Harkatul Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba have long been sending jihadi terrorists into Indian Kashmir. But the very same outfits are also responsible for acts of violence and provocation in the Shia-majority Pakistani Kashmir.

Fourteen people died in Gilgit in the most recent sectarian clashes, which were sparked off by attacks on a leading Shia religious leader, and a week earlier, on officials of Aga Khan health agency. The perpetrators of those attacks belonged to the Harkatul Mujahideen, whose leader Fazlur Rehman Khaleel, was released in late-December for the want of evidence. Hafiz Saeed, leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, is roaming free too; making his usual incendiary speeches, this time targeting the Shias of the north.

There may not be enough legal evidence to implicate these leading jihadis; but the brazenness with which they are allowed to carry on their business points to a certain reluctance on the part of Musharraf to keep them in check. Anyone reading or hearing Musharraf’s public statements would end up believing that the General’s intention to curb sectarian terrorism is real; but the precious little he has actually done suggests that Musharraf’s money is not where his mouth is.