Ally backs India's claim that Pakistan is being duplicitous in the war on terror

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2003, 12:00am

Indian accusations of Pakistani insincerity over international terrorism have received endorsement from a US State Department report that says Pakistan is continuing its support for armed militants in Kashmir.

The report, published on Monday, looks at human rights abuses across the world every year. It says Pakistan is still backing militants who cross the border into Kashmir, despite international pressure and despite its own commitment to the US. The pledge to refrain from such support was extracted by the US a year ago when both countries were on the brink of war over what India calls cross-border terrorism in Kashmir.

'The concerted campaign of execution-style killings of civilians by Kashmir and foreign-based militant groups continued and included several killings of political leaders and party workers,' the report said.

The report comes just over a week after the latest massacre in Kashmir in which 24 Hindus were killed by Muslim militants. India angrily charged Pakistan with complicity, saying it was pushing militants into Indian Kashmir to kill and spread mayhem.

The State Department report specifically mentions last year's terrorist assaults on the Raghunath temple and the family quarters of the Kaluchak army barracks, both in Jammu, as examples of how Pakistan has not given up its support for terrorist groups.

It says separatist militants were guilty of numerous human rights abuses last year, including the murder of soldiers, policemen, government officials, torture, rape and 'other forms of brutality'.

Equally damaging for Pakistan is the report's explicit confirmation of fears that Pakistan's largest nuclear facility has shared its know-how with North Korea. This also caused purrs of pleasure in New Delhi. The report also accuses India of resorting to the 'excessive use of force' in fighting militants in Kashmir and the northeast.

While India was described as 'generally respecting' human rights, the report said numerous problems remained, such as extra-judicial killings and the deaths of suspects in custody. It is also criticised over the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat last year. The report said that while the government generally protected religious freedom, it sometimes did not act to prosecute those guilty of persecuting minorities and this 'was interpreted by some extremists as a signal such violence would go unpunished'.

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