Sharif says ties warmer, but Pak steps up attacks
Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being keen to normalise ties with the Nawaz Sharif government, the increasing aggressiveness on the part of Pakistan-based terrorist groups in Kashmir has left him disconcerted.
To date, 27 security personnel have been killed in terrorist attacks as compared to four during the same period last year.
The internal security establishment has brought to the notice of the government that despite Sharif insisting on warmer ties with India, the Pakistan Army, particularly the ISI, seems to have different plans.
“The escalation of violence in the valley has been noticed after appointment of major general Sajjad Rasul as head of S Directorate of ISI, which deals with Kashmir, two months ago. Rasul, a former Pak military attaché in Dhaka, is known for his aggressive behaviour against India,” said a senior official.
Top government sources say the evidence of escalation is clear from the suicide attack of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) at CRPF camp in Bemina this March and also the LeT attack on the army convoy at Hyderpora bypass on June 24. This compares to no fidayeen attacks in the past three years.
The army convoy was attack ed on the eve of PM’s visit was carried out despite pin-pointed intelligence to the local commanders and police. Eight army troopers were killed and another six were injured in the attack. For the record, Hizbul Mujahideen took responsibility of the attack.
Besides, security agencies are picking up intercepts indicating ISI’s go ahead to Hizbul Mujahideen leader and Chairman United Jehad Council Syed Salahuddin for attacks on security forces in Kashmir.
“The number of infiltration attempts in Kupwara-Keran sector have gone up to increase the strength of terrorists, presently around 350 in number, in the Valley. There is also evidence of ISI asking the valley separatists to rally around Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and forge a common front against India,” said a senior official.
The escalation of violence in Kashmir by Pakistan is seen as a plan to force New Delhi to call for a dialogue with separatists.