Jaish chief tells Pakistan to let militants enter Kashmir and 'resolve issue'
The meeting came against the backdrop of China blocking the designation of Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar (pictured) as a terrorist by the UN. Photograph: (AFP)
Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar has urged Pakistan to show "courage" by allowing jihadi fighters to enter Kashmir and "resolve the issue once and for all".
In a column published on the front page of the Jaish mouthpiece al-Qalam, Azhar wrote Islamabad's pro-jihad policy in Kashmir in the 1990s had weakened India's military capability, saying it had been reduced from a "serpent to an earthworm".
Jaish-e-Mohammad, a jihadist organisation determined to liberate Kashmir from India, has been blamed by New Delhi for waging the deadly attack on an Indian Army installation in Uri, Kashmir, on September 18.
Azhar also slammed the Pakistani establishment for its recent dithering policies.
He said Pakistan, not India, should have "cancelled the SAARC conference".
Azhar's exhortations come days after reports emerged about friction between the civilian government and the army over the latter's seemingly pro-jihadi policies.
According to a recent report penned by Dawn's Cyril Almeida, the civilian government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had asked the army to not protect Azhar and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.
But Azhar in his column stressed that allowing jihadi groups to enter Kashmir would put India under pressure, saying the "bitter memories of 1971" would be "dissolved into the triumphant emotions of 2016".
He said the Indian army was not particularly strong, as evidenced by the Pathankot and Uri attacks on Indian Army installations, which killed three and 18 security personnel respectively. "What remained of its military prowess was exposed in Pathankot and Uri,” he wrote.