Hizbul Mujahideen Dismisses Indian Cease-Fire Drama

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Kashmir's main militant group, the Hizbul Mujahideen, on Wednesday dismissed India's extension of a unilateral cease-fire in the strife-torn state as a "drama" aimed at deceiving the world. 

"It is merely a drama as India has refused to take any concrete steps to resolve the festering Kashmir dispute," Hizbul spokesman Salim Hashmi told AFP. 

India should recognize Kashmir as a disputed territory, drastically cut its heavy troop deployment, release rebel prisoners and agree to three-way talks with Pakistan and the Kashmiris, Hashmi said. 

"If India takes these steps we will give a positive response. Otherwise fraudulent announcements of cease-fire carry no meaning." 

He said that despite India's cease-fire during the ongoing Islamic holy month of Ramadan the situation had not changed and Indian forces were continuing operations against separatists fighting New Delhi's rule. 

India on Wednesday extended its cease-fire by another month and said the government would take "exploratory steps" towards resuming a dialogue with Pakistan. 

Kashmir, divided between Pakistan and India and claimed by both, has caused two of their three wars since 1947. 

Pakistan has pledged to show maximum restraint along the disputed border in Kashmir in response to India's initiative. 

It has also asked India to allow Kashmiri separatist leaders to visit Pakistan to facilitate a tripartite dialogue -- ISLAMABAD (AFP)  




© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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