[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Dangerous portents!

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
I hope India will take some pre-emptive action.  Will the joint counter 
terrorism team set up by the US and India address this issue?

Ram Narayanan
Lobby for India on the internet at


Musharraf Showing Afghan-based Militants the Way to Kashmir
0226 GMT, 000215
Pakistan's leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, visited Pakistani Kashmir on 
Feb. 5 for Kashmir Solidarity Day and pledged his support to insurgent 
groups. Calling on them to unite, Musharraf is publicizing the insurgent 
movement to attract Pakistani militants from the conflict in Afghanistan 
to the one in Kashmir.

On Feb. 1, Musharraf met with a top Taliban leader and urged the Taliban 
to open a dialogue with its rival the Northern Alliance, reported Radio 
Pakistan. Musharraf also announced Feb. 7 that he would visit 
Afghanistan "soon" to meet with Taliban leader Mullar Mohammad Omar to 
discuss terrorism and the expulsion of Osama bin Ladin.

On the one hand, Musharraf is attempting to quell the conflict in 
Afghanistan. By helping to decrease the Taliban's activities, Pakistan 
gains the favor of China, which is wrestling with its own insurgencies. 
The strategy in Afghanistan mirrors a broader foreign policy: attempting 
to gain foreign legitimacy, as well as foreign investment. U.S. 
President Clinton has scheduled a visit to India next month, but has 
revealed no plans to meet with Pakistan.

But the regime cannot afford for Pakistani militants simply to de-camp 
from the Afghan civil war and return home. If the war in Afghanistan 
quiets down, Pakistan faces the possibility of large numbers of Muslim 
fundamentalists moving across the border. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 
Pakistanis reportedly trained and fought in Afghanistan between 1994 and 
1999. Musharraf, a secular leader, cannot afford the spread of 
fundamentalism and the fundamentalist's call for Islamization that would 
likely weaken the economy.

The Musharraf government so fears a fundamentalist backlash that it has 
already tried to control activists. Authorities announced on Feb. 9 that 
they had restricted the movement of Mola Masood Azhar, an Islamic cleric 
who returned to Pakistan after his release from an Indian prison. His 
release brought an end to the Indian Airlines hijacking in December. The 
restriction placed on Azhar followed his widespread campaign to rally 
support for a fundamentalist Kashmiri separatist movement.

  Actions such as quieting Azhar may help stem the current spread of 
fundamentalism in Pakistan, but Musharraf needs to take further steps to 
prevent a strong Muslim influence filtering in from Afghanistan. 
Musharraf hopes to redirect these militants to Kashmir, keeping them 
occupied in a centralized area. If he can succeed in driving the Afghan 
veterans into Kashmir, he may be able to keep the two militant factions 
- the original militants and the newly arrived ones - at each other's 
throats. This, in turn, would serve another goal of the regime: keeping 
the Kashmir conflict from spilling into open war with India.

This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/