Almost exactly one year ago, Pakistani president Pervez Musharref, acting under pressure from Washington, announced he was closing down the Kashmir division of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency that was running terror groups into Kashmir. He also announced that Pakistan would no longer support non-indigenous militants operating in the divided region. The Pakistani ruler said at the time that lowering the level of the insurgency plaguing Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 was not too big a price to pay to protect Pakistan against attack by India.
India never believed any of this, claiming the Pakistani ISI had faked its withdrawal from backing cross-border attacks across the Line of Control into Indian-controlled Kashmir, to make a show of meeting Washington’s demands.
This week, the Inter Services Intelligence was reported to have finally rolled up its sleeves to the Islamic terrorists. An estimated five militant training camps housing about 2,300 terrorists that were used for forays against India, were ordered to move out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) into Pakistan proper. Furthermore, the United Jehad Council (UJC) was forced to begin restructuring to give the ISI tighter control over its 13 violent member- groups.
Attempts were made to encourage the groups to merge in order to reduce their number. Most of those attempts fell foul of squabbles between the groups meant to amalgamate over the choice of leaders and new names.
As to the training camps moved to Pakistan, the ISI has placed severe restrictions on their inmates.
According to some reports, some 500 militants from ten groups were shifted to a closed factory in the Punjab province, which the Pakistani government rented and handed to the intelligence service.
Another 2,300 Hizbul Mujahideen activists are held in the Taxila and Haripur camps near Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, and dozens more at smaller and more remote locations.
They are not allowed to leave those camps and visitors may arrive only at night and leave before sunrise.
According to the same report, the ISI was now confining itself to launching foreign terrorists into Kashmir as the local militants are liable to turn themselves in to Indian troops. Those foreigners now occupy the vacated training camps in Pakistani Kashmir. The local Kashmiri terrorists are so angry with Pakistan that for the first time since the insurgency began, Pakistani soldiers are posted to stop them stealing into India.
On Wednesday, January 8, India’s defense minister George Fernandez charged that al Qaeda and Taliban operatives who had lost their bases in Afghanistan had settled in Kashmir with the active support of the ISI and the Pakistani government.