Jaish moving offices to held Kashmir

Published January 3, 2002

ISLAMABAD, Jan 2: A Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant group blamed by India for an attack on its parliament said on Wednesday it was moving its offices into Indian occupied Kashmir to escape a crackdown by Pakistani authorities.

Officials of the Jaish-i-Mohammad and a second group, Lashkar-i-Taiba, accused of involvement in the New Delhi raid say about 100 of their activists across Pakistan have been detained in the sweep.

Pakistan is stressing that its moves against the militants battling Indian rule in disputed Kashmir are for domestic security reasons and not related to Indian demands for action against them.

But there are hopes the crackdown will defuse the military standoff between the neighbours along their border, where both countries have built up their largest military presence in nearly 15 years.

There was at least one exchange of fire between Pakistani and Indian forces on their frontier in the disputed Kashmir region overnight but no reports of casualties, a Pakistani security official said.

An official of the Jaish-i-Mohammad militant group said its leaders will infiltrate the Indian section of Kashmir, despite heavy Indian security.

“We have decided to shift offices to occupied Kashmir,” the group official, Mohammad Abdullah, told Reuters.

“We will open offices on the mountains of Kashmir and no one can stop us from doing so,” he said. The leader of the Jaish, Maulana Masood Azhar, was detained by Pakistani authorities late last month.—Reuters

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