No Links Between Al-Qaeda and Kashmiri Militants

Srinagar, May 9: Setting all speculations about the presence of Al-Qaeda fighters in Kashmir at rest, the chief minister of the region said Monday that there is no evidence to suggest links between Al-Qaeda and Kashmiri militants.

“Some people are drawing parallels between what is happening in Kashmir and Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. I have chaired several meetings of unified command (army, police and paramilitary formation) during two and a half years and have not come across a single intelligence report that would suggest a link between Al-Qaeda, Osama and Kashmir militancy,” Omar told media on the sidelines of a function marking the reopening of Secretariat and other offices in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir.

He said although there is no doubt that there is an external dimension to Kashmiri militancy but there are no credible reports to suggest links between Al-Qaeda and Kashmiri militants.

The chief minister expressed the hope that there would be no impact of Osama’s killing on the dialogue process between arch rivals, India and Pakistan. “India’s foreign secretary has already made it clear that India wouldn’t want to strain relations with Pakistan on the basis of the Osama episode and would like relations with that country to remain normal,” he said.

“The dialogue process was brought on track with great difficulty after Mumbai attacks and it wouldn’t be right if relations between the two countries will deteriorate in the aftermath of Osama’s killing. It will have a negative impact on the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Stressed on the need of speeding up the internal dialogue process, Omar said, “Its ambit should be broadened. Those, who haven’t participated in the dialogue with New Delhi should come forward because they themselves agree that there is no other option other than talks to resolve the issue.”

“The dialogue process between India and Pakistan also needs to be expedited. The Kashmir solution should be acceptable to India, Pakistan and the majority of the people of the region,” he said.