Islamic militant says Pakistan denied his entry to please India The founder of militant Islamic group Jaish-e-Mohammed has been banned by Pakistan from entering Kashmir. Maulana Masood Azhar, who had been held under house arrest in Pakistan up until his release last December, was scheduled to address a meeting of his radical followers in Pakistani-held Kashmir yesterday. Speaking from his home in Punjab province, Mr Azhar said: 'It is unjustified to stop me from going to Kashmir to express solidarity with the freedom struggle in Indian-held Kashmir.' Both India and Pakistan lay claim to the Muslim-majority province, and Mr Azhar's group is in the forefront of the Islamabad-backed separatist insurgency in the Indian part of Kashmir. The stocky, bearded radical charged that the ban on his entry was 'aimed at appeasing India'. A fiery orator, Mr Azhar formed the Jaish-e-Mohammed group three years ago after his release from an Indian jail in exchange for passengers of an Indian Airlines plane hijacked to Afghanistan. The Jaish and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, another Pakistani-led group, introduced suicide missions into Kashmir and were blamed for the terrorist strike on parliament in New Delhi in December 2001, which brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was forced to ban the two outfits last year under pressure from the United States, but their infrastructure and activities were largely left untouched. Even as late as last month, after Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ended the prolonged standoff with Islamabad by offering talks, the Lashkar leader Hafeez Mohammed Saeed was allowed to go to Kashmir and address a rally. 'Jihad forces do not believe in talks,' Mr Saeed had declared. 'The jihad [in Kashmir] will not stop.' India's hawkish Defence Minister George Fernandes has said that infiltration of militants from across the provisional border with Pakistan 'is looking down'. As a result, Mr Vajpayee, on a six-day summer break in the Himalayas, said for the first time that an end to the insurgent violence 'is not a pre-condition' for talks with Pakistan. India has so far ruled out talks unless there is a complete halt to rebel activity in Kashmir.