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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 17:59 GMT
Pakistan admission over Kashmir
Kashmiri guerrillas in training allegedly in Pakistani territory
Pakistan says it offers only non-military support
A former head of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) has acknowledged that some Pakistan-based Kashmiri groups have been fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Indian paramilitary (BSF) troops relax after successful attack on militants
Indian forces have failed to crush the insurgency

General Javed Ashraf Qazi, currently Pakistan's Communications Minister, said on Pakistan television that certain religious organisations were also involved in armed militancy in Kashmir.

However, General Qazi said the ISI had nothing to do with any of these organisations.

India has accused Pakistan of sponsoring what Delhi calls "cross-border terrorism" since an armed insurrection began in the Kashmir Valley in 1989, an allegation Pakistan has denied.

Delhi blamed Pakistan-based militant groups for attacks on the Indian parliament in December and the state assembly in Srinagar last October.

Flexible structure

Several weeks ago, reports in the US press suggested President Pervez Musharraf had ordered that the ISI disband its operations in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

General Qazi said these operations were not being disbanded.

He said 700,000 Indian troops had been deployed to Indian-administered Kashmir, and Pakistan needed to know where they were and what they were doing.

Inter-Services Intelligence
Founded in 1948 by British army officer
Estimated to have at least 10,000 officers and staff
Officers seconded to it from armed forces
Said to be organised in six to eight divisions
Musharraf reported to have closed or restructured division responsible for Kashmir
Said to be deeply involved in domestic politics
Delhi accuses it of sponsoring rebels in Kashmir and other parts of India
Since the 11 September suicide attacks in the United States, Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, has forced the ISI into an abrupt U-turn on Afghanistan - purging its leadership along the way.

General Qazi also said Pakistan needed to stay well-informed on neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, and the ISI had a role to play in gathering information.

However, he said the ISI was a "dynamic organisation" and adjustments would be made according to need and changing situations.

Vendetta denied

General Qazi admitted some Pakistan-based Kashmiris had crossed the Line of Control dividing Kashmir, and conducted operations in the Indian-administered region of the disputed state.

Student protester throws back teargas canister to Srinagar police
Many Kashmiris resent Indian rule

He said some members of divided families living in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and some Islamists did take part in militant activities - but they had not been sent by the ISI.

General Qazi blamed Delhi for militancy in Kashmir and said India had supported the militant separatists in what was then East Pakistan and which later became Bangladesh.

He said the ISI merely carried out the orders of the country's political leaders and if anyone should be held responsible for the ISI's operations, they should.

See also:

23 Jan 02 | South Asia
Calcutta suspects rounded up
09 Jan 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Pakistan
02 Jan 02 | South Asia
Kashmir violence keeps tensions high
30 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan spy service 'aiding Bin Laden'
16 Dec 01 | South Asia
India names attack 'ringleader'
07 Nov 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's vested interests
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