SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Fatalities in Suicide Attacks in Jammu and Kashmir
July 1999 to November 2002
from Official and English language media sources.
Quantum Leap in
the Peace Process: From Separation to Federalism
The most significant achievement of the Oslo talks in December 2002 was the categorical statement, made by the head of the negotiating team of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Anton Balasingham, which the militant organization was prepared to accept a federal unit for the north and east within a united Sri Lanka. This statement represents a crucial development in the conflict transformation process in Sri Lanka. This transition from secession to internal autonomy is the outcome of two decades of civil war, combined with political and strategic sensitivity to radically new circumstances of global, regional and national politics.
The details of the talks were not outlined and different positions taken by the two sides on various vital issues have not been disclosed at the conclusion of the talks. The process designers have obviously been careful to send out a positive message through the substance as well as symbolism of the talks. At the press conference held after the conclusion of discussions, the two negotiating teams, as well as the Norwegian interlocutors, expressed ‘complete satisfaction’ on the progress, and an earnest desire to carry forward the peace process.
With the autonomy announcement, the LTTE has repositioned itself vis-à-vis the Sri Lankan state in such a way that returning to the old Eelam (separate state) goal would not be particularly viable. However the trajectories of transforming the LTTE’s proclamation of autonomy into a stable political commitment will be contingent on how the government handles the future challenges and progress towards the establishment of a firm mechanism for devolving power to the north and east regions. That is an extremely hazardous path and substantial reforms will be required to reach that goal.
The history of Sri Lankan agreements and subsequent failures of implementation goes back five decades. The differences between the two principal ethnic communities in the country came into prominence even before independence in 1948. The Sri Lankan state was not founded on a collective idea acceptable to the principal ethnic minority – the Tamils – and this has manifested itself, first in peaceful and non-violent protests, and subsequently in an armed struggle that has created critical constitutional and legal challenges to the state and its institutions.
Democratic Tamil leaders of the Federal Party (FP) had advocated a federal solution from the very beginning. However, various agreements – such as the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagham (1957), Senanayake-Chelvanayagham (1965), the Annexure C Formula proposed by Special Indian Envoy G. Parthasarathy to President Jayewardene (1983), the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement (1987) – were either abrogated or were not fully implemented. Similarly, all rounds of negotiations between the government and the LTTE – Thimpu (1985), Delhi and Bangalore (1987), Colombo (1989-90) and Colombo (1994-95) – faced the same fate, with disastrous results in terms of escalating violence after each debacle.
Political analysts are, however, much more optimistic about the current peace process. The post-9/11, global anti-terrorism drive; pressure from the Tamil Diaspora on the LTTE; the realization on the part of the government and people of Sri Lanka as well as the LTTE that no side could attain a final military victory; and growing economic compulsions are some of the international and domestic factors underlying this optimism.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in the United National Party’s election manifesto in December 2001, had proposed a cease-fire with the Tamil militants, to be followed by negotiations to find a political solution. He also proposed an interim council for the northeast be set up with the participation of the LTTE for a period of two years, to prepare the ground for a lasting political settlement. He had earlier proposed that there be de-escalation of the conflict and asymmetrical devolution for the northeast.
For the first time in nearly 20 years of a civil war, which has caused the death of an estimated 64,000 people and displaced over one million people, there might be some hope to bring the conflict to an end, and to allow for the return of the internally displaced. Peace talks were initiated at the end of year 2001 between the two warring parties, the LTTE and the government, with Norway as an intermediary. While the first two rounds of talks were held in Thailand, the third round took place at Oslo in the first week of December 2002.
While the majority of the IDPs in the north and east are expected to be resettled within the next two years, most of the IDPs currently living in the southern parts of the country, or in India, will not return until there is a permanent political solution, or at least clear signs of long-term peace. Although there is a renewed attempt to find a consensus, the dilemma nevertheless remains as to how a Constitution, one that lays the foundations for a pluralist democracy, can be promulgated in the face of entrenched institutional and cultural biases.
The constitutional amendments for implementation of any final agreement will require the support of the opposition in order to obtain the mandatory two-thirds majority in Parliament, which will have to be endorsed subsequently in a national referendum. Although President Chandrika Kumaratunga expressed her commitment to a peaceful political solution, she has emphasized that the ‘sovereignty of united Sri Lanka’ should not be diluted. Kumaratunga’s People’s Alliance (PA), which is the main opposition, has already questioned the government on several issues pertaining to sovereignty. The PA has urged the government to ‘close down’ the LTTE courts.
India has also blessed the peace process, but New Delhi is watching developments very closely because of past experiences with the LTTE. Despite Colombo’s repeated requests, India refrained from participating in the Oslo meeting on international economic aid to north and east Sri Lanka, because it was attended by LTTE’s Anton Balasingham, who belongs to the militant movement that was responsible for the assassination of India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Many crucial issues such as legalizing the LTTE’s armed cadres by forming a paramilitary force for the northeast region, power sharing arrangement for Muslims in the east, land rights, etc., will have to be tackled before a final solution and, as Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said, "it is an extremely hazardous path and the process is a very long one". However Wickremesinghe’s new initiative has taken firm roots, and Constitutional Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris, who led the Sri Lanka government delegation in the talks, while expressing satisfaction over the positive outcome, has asserted that the two sides would be firmly entrenched on the peace path and would reach the ‘point of no-return to war’ by the middle of 2003.
The Delhi Declaration: Convergence
President Putin’s three-day visit to Delhi last week culminated in the Delhi Declaration on the ‘further consolidation of Strategic Partnership’ between India and the Russian Federation. While the declaration emphasised a commitment to work towards a ‘new cooperative security order’ in general, it focused particularly on shared concerns as "victims of terrorism having its roots in our common neighbourhood". Coming as it does in the wake of President Putin’s unambiguous indictment of Pakistan, and his apprehensions that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in that country could fall into the hands of ‘bandits and terrorists’, the Delhi Declaration is an extraordinary expression of determination to root out terror at a time when the international community’s attention and will appear to be wavering. Indeed, in a pointed reference to Western – and particularly American – vacillation, the Declaration went on to add that "The fight against terrorism must not admit of any double standards and should also target the financial and other sources of support to terrorism." In a Press Conference after the signing of the Declaration, President Putin stated further that "it is not only important that Islamabad would cut the ways of infiltration of militants into Kashmir through the control line to the State… but would also increase its work to liquidate the whole terrorist infrastructure acting in this region."
In stark contrast, underlining the increasing ambivalence of the current stage of the war against terrorism, the United States is reported to have issued a demarche to India, suggesting that New Delhi ‘go slow’ on its political and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan because these were, in turn, having ‘an adverse impact on a weakened President Musharraf in Islamabad’.
Unsurprisingly, Russia and India have found it necessary to emphasize their "particular interest in putting an end to this common threat through preventive and deterrent measures nationally and bilaterally." The Delhi Declaration strongly condemns those who support and sponsor terrorists and proclaims that, "States that aid, abet or shelter terrorists are as guilty of the acts of terrorism as their perpetrators."
Pakistan’s support to terrorism in the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is, of course, widely known and documented, as is its patronage – indeed, control – of the Taliban forces and regime in Afghanistan before 9/11. What is less well known is the Pakistani role in fomenting Islamist extremism in Chechnya and Dagestan, where the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has actively mobilized fundamentalist forces for over a decade, and has directly trained and supported terrorist cadres, as well as given sanctuary to their leadership. Most of the members of the Chechen Cabinet are known to have been trained in Pakistan, and as far back as in July 1995, senior Russian counter-terrorism officials had indicated that Chechen commander Shamyl Basayev was among the terrorists trained in Pakistani camps. Russian authorities asserted that Basayev had been living in Pakistan since 1991, and only returned to Chechnya periodically to organize terrorist incidents. Salman Raduyev, another Chechen who had led a raid in Kizlyar, Dagestan, in January 1996, taking over 2,000 Russians hostage, also received training from the Harkat-ul-Mujahiddeen (HuM) in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The HuM was an ISI creation, and came into being in 1985, originally to participate in the Jehad against Soviet Forces in Afghanistan. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the group substantially turned its attention to J&K, though its influence and its cadres go well beyond. The HuM has been particularly active in training Islamist terrorists from a wide range of countries, including the Philippines, Myanmar, the Central Asian Republics (CARs), Chechnya, Dagestan and the Xinjiang province of China.
The Pakistani intervention in Chechnya is part of a larger game plan, drawn out during the tenure of Lt. Gen. Javed Nasir as the Director General of the ISI, to dominate the CARs through an extended process of extremist Islamist mobilization. Nasir was also an ‘advisor’ to the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ), which was used extensively in this process, backed by liberal funding from Saudi Arabia. The TJ extensively preached an extremist Wahabi form of Islam in the CARs, as well as in Chechnya and Dagestan in Russia, and in the Xinjiang province of China, mobilizing recruits, who were brought to Pakistan and Afghanistan for ‘religious studies’ and for arms training in camps run by the HuM and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). A large number of mercenaries and volunteers from Pakistan have also participated in terrorist operations and rebel campaigns in Chechnya and Dagestan. An international Islamist ‘charitable’ organization, Al Haramein Islamic Foundation, created to support the anti-Soviet movement in Afghanistan in the 1980s was also known to have subsequently widened its activities to support Islamist terrorist organizations worldwide, and established a network of offices in Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Somalia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, and was active in Chechnya as well. The Foundation is headquartered at Riyadh, and provides support to Wahabi extremist groups in Dagestan and Chechnya. Al Haramein’s operations in Pakistan have been used to arrange the acquisition of heavy weaponry, a range of armaments, and the recruitment of experienced Pakistani mercenaries for the Chechen terrorists. The Chechen rebels had also established strong links with the Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as with a number of Pakistan based extremist groups, including the HuM, the LeT, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Islam.
been targeted by a series of acts of terrorism, including
mass hostage taking, bombings and shootings, many of them
in Moscow – including the October 23, 2002 outrage in a
Theatre where over 800 persons were held hostage by heavily
armed Chechen terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests,
and in which more than 120 persons eventually lost their
lives in the rescue operation. Moscow sees a widening arc
of Islamist terror sweeping across Eastern Europe, Central
and South Asia, and, with over 33,590 lives lost in J&K
alone, India cannot but share these concerns. The network
of radical Islamism and terror that has been established
in Pakistan is a grave danger to stability and security
throughout this region, and it is, as the Delhi Declaration
notes, "democratic and open societies" that are
most "vulnerable to the threats posed by globalization
of terror, including new manifestations of linkage between
terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." The Declaration
is a recognition of the fact that it will require an extraordinary
international and cooperative effort to fight against this
"terrorism, separatism and extremism, and the support
these phenomena receive from organized crime and illicit
arms and drug trafficking."
Jammu & Kashmir:
The lethality of any terrorist group is proportionate to the effective strategies that it unveils and the levels of violence it can inflict upon a target society. Suicide terrorism is now widely considered a relatively cost-effective, high-impact tactic in various theatres of conflict, including, over the past three years, in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
338 persons have been killed and another 432 injured during suicide [fidayeen] attacks [Table] between July 1999 and November 2002. On November 29, 2002, a Deputy Inspector General of the Border Security Force (BSF), R.S. Bhullar, disclosed that suicide attacks had claimed the lives of 161 security force (SF) personnel in J&K over the last three years. Ninety terrorists and an almost similar number of civilians have also died in these fidayeen strikes. He also said that Pakistan-based terrorist formations had carried out as many as 55 suicide attacks on Police and SF camps. The Army had suffered the maximum casualties, losing 82 personnel; the J&K Police suffered 42 fatalities; the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost 24; while Border Security Force (BSF) lost 10 men. Two personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and one of the Indian Air Force (IAF) have also died in these attacks.
The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has been responsible for a majority of the suicide attacks. Between November 3, 1999 and December 31, 2000, LeT was involved in 15 out of an estimated 19 fidayeen attacks in J&K, in which 50 SF personnel were killed and another 37 injured, with three civilian casualties. 24 Lashkar terrorists were killed during these attacks.
In the year 2001, the LeT executed 23 out of an estimated 28 fidayeen attacks in J&K, killing 83 SF personnel, and injuring another 135. Civilians also lost their lives in these incidents and 59 were injured. 29 LeT cadres died during these operations.
The Lashkar has also been responsible for at least 10 fidayeen attacks in the current year. One of the high-intensity strikes was the September 24-attack on the Akshardham Temple of the Swaminarayan sect of Hindus in the western Indian State of Gujarat. Although a crack team of the National Security Guards (NSG) eventually killed both the Lashkar fidayeen, 32 persons, including 16 women and four children, had already lost their lives, and at least another 74 had been injured.
Again, on November 24, 2002, at least 12 persons were killed and 45 others injured, when three LeT fidayeen simultaneously attacked two shrines – Raghunath and Panjbakhtar temples – in the heart of Jammu City. Violence recommenced briefly around the Panjbakhtar temple the next morning when a third terrorist, presumed to be part of the same squad was engaged and neutralized by the by SFs. J&K Director General of Police A.K. Suri indicated that the LeT was responsible for this attack, the second in eight months on the Raghunath temple. This information was derived from a telephone call received by Suri at his residence in which a "Pakistani LeT cadre" said, "we have done it and now it is your turn."
The first fidayeen attack in the State occurred on July 13, 1999, when six BSF personnel, including a Deputy General of Police (DIG), were killed in a sneak operation at the Sector 11 headquarters at Bandipore. Over the next three years, terrorists have carried out similar successful suicide attacks on a large number of high-value military and civil installations, including the headquarters of the Army’s 15 Corps at Badami Bagh in Srinagar, the headquarters of Special Operations Group (SOG) in Srinagar, the Police Control Room in Srinagar, J&K Legislative Assembly complex in Srinagar, Srinagar Airport, the Indian Air Force base at Awantipore, and the headquarters of 19-Infantry Division in Baramulla.
The latest strike on an SF concentration occurred when, in its first suicide attack in Srinagar during the current year, LeT fidayeen, on November 22, killed six SF personnel and injured another nine, at the headquarters of the CRPF’s 113 and 92 battalions in the Pamposh Hotel premises of the high security Civil Lines area. Both the terrorists of the group were killed in retaliatory firing. This was also the first major terrorist attack after the new coalition government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took office on November 2. An unidentified LeT spokesperson reportedly claimed the incident was part of the group’s ‘Operation Badar’, which had been launched in the holy month of Ramzan.
Suicide terror in J&K is not merely a measure undertaken out of tactical despondency, nor is it a measure of last resort. Pakistan-based terrorist groups introduced suicide attacks on security installations in J&K after the Kargil War in year 1999. In mid-1999, army units were moved from the Kashmir valley to Kargil sector for duties under Operation Vijay. Taking advantage of the momentary disruption in the counter-insurgency grid as also the resulting gaps in deployment, terrorist groups began sneak attacks on security force formations.
Eric Herren of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism while observing that Kashmir presented a particularly difficult problem vis-à-vis suicide bombings says, "It is becoming something of a mass movement among terrorists… Almost every mission is a success." According to Herren, the suicide terrorist in J&K is likely to be "between 15 and 25 years of age, male, and may be Kashmiri but is most likely to be Pakistani, Afghan, Arab or a European-born Muslim."
The general pattern of fidayeen attacks carried out by the LeT is directed towards storming a particular target, inflicting maximum fatalities, before death (or occasional escape) intervenes. Though fidayeen targets have often been security installations, civilian targets are far from the exception. The Lashkar attack on August 7, 2001, at the Jammu Railway Station was the first suicide attack in the State that targeted civilians. The attack left seven civilians dead and another 24 injured. The second, and arguably the most lethal attack thus far, was the Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) strike on the J&K State Legislative Assembly complex in Srinagar, in which 36 persons were killed and 24 others injured. On May 14, 2002, three fidayeen of the Al Mansooran, a front outfit of the Lashkar, launched an attack on the Kaluchak cantonment in Jammu. 36 persons, a majority of them family members of SF personnel and other civilians, were killed, while 48 others were injured. The two attacks on Raghunath temple this year and the Akshardham incident also fall under this category. In a majority of attacks, most fidayeen were killed, though a few did manage to escape. It was only in nine incidents that the complete suicide squad managed to escape while in two attacks, they failed to inflict any fatalities.
The suicide attack on the Legislative Assembly complex in Srinagar, in addition to being one of the most daring attacks, also demonstrated the tactical use of a vehicle-borne suicide bomber in a larger terrorist attack. The objective of the fidayeen was to blow open the gates to the complex in order to allow the back-up team to enter and eliminate members of the Assembly.
The most dramatic and consequential of fidayeen attacks, however, was the December 13, 2001 attack on India’s Parliament at Delhi, which led to the mobilization of Forces and deployment along the Line of Control and International Border by both countries, arousing international apprehensions of an open – and potentially nuclear – war. A group of five JeM terrorists, armed with guns and hand grenades, stormed the Parliament complex with an explosives-laden car shortly before noon on December 13, and in the indiscriminate firing, nine SF personnel and a member of the Parliament staff were killed. All five terrorists were subsequently killed by the SFs.
The Pakistani terror machinery appears to regard the fidayeen option as attractive and Mohammed Nawaz alias Abu Hijrat, who was an instructor at an Afghanistan training camp, disclosed in August 2000 that hardcore terrorists, primarily murderers, criminals under death sentence, and religious fanatics were being inducted into suicide squads and given training at such camps. Hijrat also revealed that mercenaries secure a special three-month training for graduating to suicide squads at Umal Basti in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Bagalpur in Pakistan. A fidayeen is given training in special acts of sabotage after his three-month commando course and three months of special training on mapping, surveillance, civilian cooperation and intelligence gathering at Bagalpur, Zafarwal and Umal Basti camps, among others.
A suicide attack involves a minimal security risk for its sponsors, since the impossibility of interrogating the attacker leaves the terrorist infrastructure intact. In addition to the physical destruction caused, suicide attacks also carry psychological ramifications for the target society at large, delivering a message that the enemy is willing to pursue and resort to the most extreme measures at its disposal. The extension of the fidayeen strategy to other theatres outside J&K also indicates that no place or category of persons is secure.
Countering the fidayeen, evidently, presents a difficult problem for security agencies. In the J&K case, where the entire mobilization, training and planning of the attacks takes place on foreign soil, in Pakistani safe havens, it is not possible to ‘work backstage’ on the organization that prepares the fidayeen for their macabre missions. Nor, indeed, would the various long-term strategies recommended – including 'de-indoctrination' and counter-propaganda targeting either the terrorist political agenda or the religious/ideological logic of martyrdom, undercutting the recruitment capability of a terrorist group by removing the necessary ideological or religious fuse – have significant potential for success, until the supporting state structure in Pakistan is brought under extraordinary pressure to end the exploitation of an impoverished and ignorant population to recruit a continuous stream of volunteers and mercenaries whose only way of escape is in such suicidal acts of violence.
Weekly Fatalities: Major conflicts in South Asia
December 2-December 8, 2002
17 persons killed and more than 300 injured in Bangladesh cinema bomb blasts: At least 17 persons were killed and nearly 300 injured on December 7, 2002, in serial bomb blasts at four cinema halls in and around Mymenshingh, 150 kilometres north of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. The death toll is likely to rise as several of the injured are stated to be in a critical condition. No group has thus far claimed responsibility for the blasts and investigations are on. However, five persons have reportedly been arrested in connection with the blasts. Ordering a national security alert, Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury said Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist network or some other terrorist group could have carried out the attacks. Political opponents could also have been behind the explosions in a bid to destabilise the government, he added. www.dailystarnews.com, December 8, 2002.
US issues demarche to India on Afghanistan reconstruction activities, indicates report: According to a report in the Indian Express, under persuasion from Pakistan, the United States has recently issued a demarche to India, suggesting that the latter go slow on its political and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan as these were, in turn, having an adverse impact on a weakened President Pervez Musharraf. The US is reported to have pointed out that India’s attempts to carve out a presence in the post-Taliban Afghanistan, for example, by opening consulates in key cities like Kandahar and Jalalabad – both near the Pakistan border – was causing significant discomfort to the Musharraf regime. The report added that the Indian Foreign Office responded by indicating to the US administration that India, along with the international community, continued to be concerned about the fact that Pakistan was increasingly becoming a safe haven for the Al Qaeda and Taliban, including front ranking terrorists like Osama bin Laden. www.indianexpress.com, December 8, 2002.
Russian President Putin asks Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism: Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, on December 4, 2002, in New Delhi, asked Pakistan to halt cross-border terrorism, while expressing complete support to India’s stand on the same. He also called for strengthening the international non-proliferation regime to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists. Earlier in the day, Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee and Putin signed the ‘Delhi Declaration’ to enhance strategic cooperation and to set up a joint working group on combating terrorism, besides cooperating in other areas of common interest. The two leaders stressed the importance of Pakistan totally implementing obligations and promises to prevent infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC) into the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir and from other points across the border, as well as to eliminate the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan and in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). They also declared their determination to enhance collective and bilateral efforts to prevent and suppress terrorism. www.timesofindia.com, December 5, 2002.
Lashkar-e-Toiba announces four-day ceasefire in J&K: The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) announced on December 4, 2002, a four-day cease-fire with the security forces (SFs) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on the occasion of the holy festival of Eid-ul-Fitr (which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan). LeT spokesperson Abu Huzaifa said the group had unilaterally decided to halt attacks on SFs and counter-insurgents in the State from December 5. "The outfit will not attack Indian forces throughout the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir as a goodwill gesture in view of Eid-ul-Fitr," said Huzaifa in a faxed statement to a local news agency. He claimed the decision had been taken as a "goodwill gesture" so that the people could celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. He added that, even political leaders, who were on the Lashkar hit list, would not be attacked during the cease-fire. This is first time that a Pakistan-based terrorist group has announced a unilateral suspension of terrorist activities. www.dailyexcelsior.com, December 5, 2002.
15,937 terrorists killed during last 13 years in J&K, says report: A media report quoting police sources said security forces (SFs) killed 15,937 terrorists, a substantial number of them being foreign mercenaries, since January 1990 to November 2002. Of them, 1,581 terrorists have been killed during the first 11 months of the current year. Giving details, the report said 3,346 terrorists have surrendered since the year 1990. Further, in 55,538 incidents, including 3,735 in the current year, till November, terrorists have killed 10,594 civilians and injured 4,863 others since the year 1990. The violent incidents comprised blasts and explosions, hurling of hand grenades in crowded places, rocket attacks, random firing, abductions etc. 876 civilians have lost their lives in terrorist attacks during the first 11 months of the current year. The report also said 173 civilians have died and 397 sustained injuries during group clashes between terrorists during the last 13 years. www.dailyexcelsior.com, December 5, 2002.
PWG forms seven new guerrilla zones: According to media reports, the left-wing extremist — Naxalite — People’s War Group (PWG) has claimed to have built seven new guerrilla zones spread across several States, and is endeavouring to form more such bases in other ‘strategic’ places. Reports said these guerrilla zones have been set-up in the Dandkaranya, north and south Telangana regions, the Andhra Pradesh–Orissa border region, the Magadh-Koel-Kaimur region of Bihar, and the Balaghat-Gondia districts bordering the Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra States. Quoting a press release by the PWG Central Military Commission, issued on November 30, reports said the group was planning to form guerrilla bases in strategic areas in the Dandkaranya region. www.centralchronicle.com, December 4, 2002.
killed in Macedonia Consulate-bomb blast in Karachi: Three
persons were killed in a bomb blast on December 4, 2002, at
the office of the Honorary Consul General to Macedonia in the
Defence area near Nisar Shaheed Park in Karachi. Inspector General
of Police, Sindh, Syed Kamal Shah was quoted as saying that
the bomb was powerful and the attack "appeared to be an act
of terrorism". Macedonia Honorary Consul Bilal Qureshi, brother
of former acting Pakistani Premier Moin Qureshi, was in another
house at the time of the blast. According to preliminary investigations,
a Pakistani faction of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network could
be responsible for the terrorist attack. www.dawn.com,
December 6, 2002.
Government and LTTE make historic decision on federal model: The Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) agreed to explore a federal structure within a ‘united Sri Lanka’ on the principle of ‘internal self-determination’ at the third round of peace talks held in Oslo on December 5, 2002. At a press conference following the talks, LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham said, "Sri Lanka needs a new constitution that would radically transform its polity." At the same venue, government chief negotiator G.L. Peiris said, "The breakthrough [made] yesterday was… the explicit identification of a federal structure, which will be the basis on which a political solution will be evolved. Now we have a clear idea of the nature of the political solution the parties are working towards. It is not separatism, it is not confederation". Balasingham while declaring that the peace process has reached a point from where there was no question of returning to war, added that future discussions would be held on issues such as geographical region, human rights, political and administrative mechanisms, public finance, and law and order. The fourth round of peace talks would be held in Thailand between January 6 and 9, 2003. www.dailynews.lk, December 6, 2002; www.tamilnet.com, December 5, 2002.
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