|HOME | NEWS | J&K TALKS AND THE CARNAGE | REPORT|
August 8, 2000
Govt blames Pak for cease-fire withdrawal
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The government on Tuesday night blamed Pakistan for exerting pressure on the Hizbul Mujahideen to withdraw the cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir, but expressed determination to counter terrorism in the state with a heavy hand.
Reacting to the announcement by Hizb supreme commander Syed Salahuddin in Islamabad that it was not extending the 1700 hours deadline on Tuesday and directing its activists to virtually commence hostilities, a government spokesman pointed out that it followed relentless pressure from Pakistan to toe its line.
However, while expressing hope that peace talks with the Hizb could be salvaged, a senior official of the ministry of the home affairs said Indian security forces would not be an idle spectator if hostilities recommenced.
Significantly, Union Defence Minister George Fernandes remarked "not at all" when asked whether the withdrawal had jeopardised the peace talks.
According to the official, there was an apparent divergence of opinion between the Hizb's Kashmir and Pakistan wings. He said that while Salahuddin in Islamabad, due to Pakistani pressure had declared that the cease-fire deadline had ended, deputy supreme commander Abdul Majid Dar was hopeful that talks would continue to find an amicable solution.
"Why should the government give up hope when the Kashmir wing wants the talks to continue? Salahuddin is under pressure in Islamabad, which is why he has made the announcement about withdrawal of the cease-fire," the official contended.
At the cabinet committee on security affairs meeting, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reiterated his view that even as the government persisted with efforts to bring the Hizb to the negotiating table, the country would have to be on the alert considering Pakistan's apparent uneasiness with the peace talks. The defence minister, other senior ministers and defence officials attended the meeting.
Government officials are not surprised about the withdrawal. They pointed out that Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani had told party colleagues earlier in the day that Pakistan was trying to derail the talks and the government had cogent reasons to believe that it may be able to persuade the Hizb supreme commander to do its bidding, at least in Islamabad. "That is exactly what happened, but in Kashmir it is a different story because its other commanders want the talks to continue," they pointed out.
A Prime Minister's Office official said India had enhanced its image by responding to the Hizb's unilateral cease-fire declaration and carrying on talks. Now that the Hizb has withdrawn the cease-fire, "the ball now again lies in the Hizb's court although we are keen to find an amicable solution," he pointed out.
He maintained that Vajpayee had gone to the extent of saying that the talks could be carried on in the ambit of insaaniyat and this proved that he was keen for a solution.
However, Pakistan's insistence that the talks be tripartite had unduly influenced a section of the Hizb's leadership, which was reflected in Salahuddin's announcement about the withdrawal, he said.
"The government wanted to find out what exactly the Hizb wanted and, therefore, it responded to the cease-fire. But with Pakistan playing mischief, any agreement that may have resulted had to be within the framework of the Constitution," he pointed out.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK