Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) spokesman Abdullah Gaznavi issued a statement that the LeT could shun violence if the international community took steps to hold a dialogue on Kashmir’s freedom.
The LeT, which was considered to be responsible for the November 26 attacks in Mumbai, also sought to delink itself from any militant action in any part of India or the world – except Kashmir.
Gaznavi said in his statement issued to the Kashmiri press, “Armed struggle was a compulsion as the world had failed to acknowledge the struggle and yearning of Kashmiris.”
Intelligence officials, who did not wish to be quoted, said it was a move by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence — which controlled both the LeT and the secessionists — to convince the world that militancy was the result of the unresolved Kashmir crisis.
The sources added that the ISI had taken the cue from British foreign secretary David Milliband’s recent article in The Guardian, linking the Kashmir issue to militancy.
But reacting to the statement, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said if it was the Lashkar’s honest intent, it could be an opening. “We are always for a dialogue,” he told newsmen in Jammu on Monday evening. People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti, too, welcomed it.
While Omar takes pride in the initiative taken during the National Conference rule in July-August 2000 for the talks with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Mehbooba capitalises on the Centre-Hurriyat Conference dialogue that began during her father Mufti Sayeed’s rule in January 2004.
The LeT is considered to be a foreign outfit having its roots in Afghanistan and Pakistan with close links with al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden.