Militant Pakistanis Arrested in Bid To Stifle Expected Violent Protest

POLICE and security agencies are searching for Kashmiri militants in a bid to thwart Monday's planned march to cross the disputed border along the northern state of Kashmir.

"The march will fizzle out as most of the important leaders are expected to be arrested by the weekend," a senior official in the Kashmir State government said.

A similar march is planned on the same day by militants in Indian-administered Kashmir. But Pakistani officials says Indian troops will stop the march.

On Wednesday, Pakistani police arrested Amanullah Khan, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which had sponsored the march. Pakistani officials say they fear that the planned march could trigger a conflict between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan and India have fought two wars over the disputed division of Kashmir, and defense experts say a third war over Kashmir is possible unless the issue is resolved. Pakistan says Kashmiris should be allowed to decide through a plebiscite whether to remain with India or join Pakistan. India rejects such a vote.

The JKLF pushes for a third alternative: independence. In the last interview before his arrest, Mr. Khan described next week's planned march as similar to the onslaught on the Berlin Wall.

"As demolition of the Berlin Wall proved the first practical step toward the reunification of Germany, similarly we hope this [march] will prove the first practical step toward reunification of our forcefully divided motherland."

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