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Pak admits having helped insurgency in J&K
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | October 06, 2006 17:47 IST
Pakistan has admitted that it might have helped insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir at "some time" but claimed it is now "trying our best" to prevent infiltration of militants into India.
"Jihad, insurgency or whatever you want to call it in Kashmir...Yes, Pakistan may have helped the jihad at some time but it was not started by us and now we are trying our best to stop people from crossing," Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Mahmud Ali Durrani said.
He was delivering a lecture at the South Asia Programme of the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. When asked what Pakistan was doing to stop terrorist outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiyba from crossing into Kashmir, he said, "To the best of my knowledge Lakshar-e-Taiba is a banned organisation. They are no more in Pakistan," Durrani said.
However, even two years ago, the LeT had money collection boxes in the markets of Rawalpindi, he said. "There were these hundreds and thousands of these boxes. That is finished and Lashkar-e-Taiba does not have the luxury of those funds... and the organisation has been banned," the Pakistani envoy claimed.
"We are trying our best. We have put military as well as intelligence assets in areas from where people went. There is no serious cross border movement today in Kashmir," Durrani claimed.
He said there were "vast areas" in which both India and Pakistan had responsibilities. "Both parties have responsibilities. If we can't hypothetically stop every guy from crossing over, the other side has responsibility too. So it is a joint issue. It has been addressed," he said.
Asked how Pakistan was dealing with what was being taught in the 'madrassas', Durrani maintained that every madrassa does not teach violence but they do preach a "very narrow vision of Islam."
The government is fighting to change the syllabus of such schools focussing on reforms that goes beyond just teaching of religion to including instruction in other subjects like maths and English, he said adding that they are being "closely watched" by security forces.
Durrani brushed aside as "grossly overstated" the notion that in the event of another military coup, 'jihadists' and extremists will come to the fore and, hence, the fear of Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the hands of such elements. "The nuclear weapons are very safe," he said.
On Musharraf's plans to quit as army chief, Durrani said "I think he's going to surprise us."
On the proposed legislation to amend the rigid 'Hudood' law, which puts onus on women to prove offences like rape, he said President Pervez Musharraf was trying to win over religious parties instead of bulldozing the legislation.
In his opening presentation, Durrani said that terrorism, irrespective of the motive, "is unacceptable" to Pakistan and that the country "is committed to fighting" it "in all its form".