Indian moves raise hostage hopes
Friday 25 August 1995
Negotiations between India and the Kashmiri rebels holding four tourists have entered a byzantine phase, in which the hostages are being used as pawns in a dangerous game between India and Pakistan.
Western diplomats were cheered by the Al-Faran kidnappers' release on Wednesday of photographs and taped messages showing the two Britons - Keith Managan, 33, from Tooting and Paul Wells, 23, from Nottingham - an American and a German might still be alive. Al-Faran has spared its captives because India is dangling the possibility that, in exchange for the tourists, it might set free a few Kashmir rebel prisoners wanted by Al-Faran.
Pakistan also covets the Indian border state of Kashmir and has been giving moral and diplomatic support to Muslim separatists. The Indians and several Western intelligence agencies say Pakistan has been providing arms, money and training through Islamic fundamentalist groups - a claim Islamabad denies.
When the Indians claimed on Sunday that they had intercepted a radio message from somewhere inside Pakistan to Al-Faran, ordering the kidnappers to kill the tourists on a pre-arranged signal, it seems their lives were saved by pressure put on the Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, by the White House. Western governments believe Ms Bhutto dealt with Al-Faran through intermediaries in Pakistani military intelligence and the Islamic fundamentalist parties.
Islamabad passed down the order among the Kashmir guerrillas on the Pakistan side of the border that the Westerners were not to be killed. This twist of events suits India. The hostage-taking has harmed international support for the Kashmiris' independence struggle. Britain, the US and Germany are asking why Ms Bhutto cannot apply more pressure to secure the hostages' freedom.
Ms Bhutto may be powerless to persuade the extreme anti-Western hostage- takers but if Al-Faran kills the tourists, international condemnation could rebound on Pakistan.
Meanwhile, a senior Indian official said New Delhi was playing brinkmanship with Al-Faran, stalling and planting misleading leaks to the media claiming that negotiations are proceeding swiftly with the kidnappers when they are not.
"Al-Faran wants us to set free at least three hard-core leaders of Harakat- ul-Ansar. We simply won't. They're too dangerous," the official said. "We routinely let out Kashmir militants, the less dangerous ones, and if Al-Faran wants to save face by using this as an excuse to release the foreigners, that's fine with us."
The official added with a smile of satisfaction: "Until then, it's up to Pakistan to make sure these Al-Faran fellows don't kill the foreigners."
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...