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Heavy snowfall brings down infiltration in Gulmarg
Militant networks are loosing ground in the Valley due to heavy snowfall and the political uncertainty in Pakistan. No case of infiltration has been recorded so far in Gulmarg sector as compared to yesteryears.
WHEN EVERYBODY is busy in the concluding ceremony of the 5th national winter games at Gulmarg, the security agencies have a very different and interesting story to reveal. Heavy snowfall in the upper reaches of the valley along the line of control (LOC) in Gulmarg has kept the militants away. No case of infiltration has been recorded so far in Gulmarg sector as compared to yesteryears. Also, the political uncertainty followed by elections in Pakistan played a pivotal role in curtailment of insurgency, said the intelligence agency source.
 
 “It has been the routine practice in the past several years that militants sneak into this side of the LOC during the winter months, taking advantage of the less vigil due to snowfall. However, the heaviest snowfall in the last 15 years has, this time, kept the intruders at bay. Moreover, the increased vigil by security forces in view of the national winter games and other sports events at Gulmarg has helped a lot to prevent any move of infiltration in this sector of LOC. Not even a single bid of infiltration was recorded in this sector during the last three winter months,” revealed the intelligence source.
 
Providing statistics, the sources said that there were about 400 to 600 militants active in this belt of the LOC, of which 300 were foreigners. Moreover, the army has the intelligence inputs that scores of militants are waiting on the other side of the line for the melting of snow to cross over to this side. “Forces are maintaining constant and strict vigil to prevent any such move that can help intruders to sneak into this side,” he added.
 
An army jawan (soldier) of 29 Rashtriya rifles, maintaining vigil in the vicinity of venue for national winter games at Gulmarg, believes that Pakistani ISI is busy with its internal political situation, and that is why the militant networks in the state have fallen silent in their activities. On the other hand, intelligence sources believe that the silence is deliberate, as the militants might be waiting for the change of power in the neighbouring country.
 
Militants are presently using the upper reaches of valley for the stocking and making of hideouts but the poor weather conditions can force them to move downwards.
 
Intelligence inputs said that most of the militant networks had shifted their network bases from heavy snowfall regions to the safer areas in the plains. Some inputs said that militants in some areas had come down and merged with the local populace, as they couldn’t retrieve the inclement weather conditions. Army is facing difficulties in these areas, as it can’t recognise any militant among the locals. But at many places, the local population has started joining hands with the nearest army units to help curbing militancy in these areas.
 
Increased number of arrests and surrenders in such regions has made militants to change their strategy of not disclosing their identities or not coming in contact with the common masses. Militant groups are facing acute shortage of the manpower, as they no longer are able to motivate the local youth towards joining hands with them. Army authorities believe that the present lull in violence should not be treated as the weakening of the militant network, but this can be the strategic move to buy time for regrouping and starting their activities afresh.
 
Intelligence sources further revealed that army authorities were busy chalking out a permanent strategy to wipe out the militants active in the upper reaches of the valley in near future. It is pertinent to mention here that the army was successful in flushing out a vital base of militants in highly infested upper reaches of Rajori district few years back during the operation  ‘Hill Kaka’.
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