Complacent State Enables Terrorists to Travel to Pakistan, Strengthen Terror Ecosystem in Kashmir
During Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s first stint as chief minister, a number of men with high-risk militant-prone background were given passports on the recommendation of Syed Ali Geelani. The state government meekly collaborated with Geelani’s diktats. Mufti and daughter perfected the art of enabling terrorist movement across the border when desired. Traveling on the Indian passport, these youth went across Wagah border and joining jihadi incubation campus in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Later, 90 percent of these men returned to Kashmir after formal arms training in Pakistan. The lid was blown off this state-sponsored scandal when one case was detected by the then SP Awantipora, who raised an alarm. JK Police and the security force intercepted and arrested many of these men who came back with foreign terrorists by infiltrating through the dense forests on the Line of Control.
Mufti’s Promise: You Get Me Votes, I’ll Give You Safe Passage To Pakistan
In the first stint of the Mufti Mohd Sayeed as chief minister, notorious terrorist commanders belonging to the globally proscribed terrorist organization Hizbul Mujahideen were allowed to go to Pakistan with a valid passport and travel documents authorized by the state.
It was subsequently revealed by diverse sources that this was part of the deal of Mufti Mohd Sayeed with Jamaat e Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen to help him win the elections in the state. Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s second term as chief minister started in March 2015. His stint ended with his passing away in January 2016. Thereafter, Mufti’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti, president of the People’s Democratic Party, took over as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in April 2016. Her stint ended in June 2018.
During Mufti’s second stint and then with his daughter, the gates were opened for relatives of those terrorist commanders who had moved to Pakistan earlier. These terrorists of Kashmiri origin were now manning jihadi camps in Pakistan and operating the terror networks in Kashmir. Their relatives were allowed by the state to visit the mafia dons in Pakistan. This was part of the state’s drive fancily named The Healing Touch.
The Movement Of Terrorist Relatives Must Come Under The Scanner
Over the last decade, particularly during the rule of Mufti Mohd Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti, almost every relative of terrorists of Kashmir origin staying in Pakistan visited them more than once. Some of their relatives have even visited them every year. On the face of it, the movement of Kashmiris to Pakistan to visit their relatives, or the movement of Pakistanis visiting Kashmir for a similar purpose sounds heartwarming. Many analysts have seen these movements as indicative of deep social bonds between India and Pakistan, which may help bring India and Pakistan close. One does not deny that a sizable percentage of Kashmiris went to Pakistan for bonafide purposes during the years that such movement was allowed. Similarly, their relatives visited Kashmir. But there is also an ugly, malevolent side to this movement.
With this cross-border movement, Pakistan got one more channel to incentivize terrorism in Kashmir. This was done by pumping in cash and kind in Kashmir to the relatives of Kashmiri terrorists living in Pakistan.
Take the case of Parveena, the sister of Amir Khan, the second in command in Hizbul Mujahideen. Parveena visited her brother in 2017-18. She came back with heavy gold jewelry and cash. These multiple visits served the purpose of legal sources of terrorist funding in Kashmir. Similarly, Zulaikha, the sister of the Qureshi brothers, made huge assets in Kashmir. Farooq Qureshi and his brothers, who hail from Kupwara, are among Pakistan’s most strategic terror assets to maximise terrorism in Kashmir. They are among the most vital link for the Pakistan army for its proxy war in Kashmir. Zulaikha was part of Pakistan’s terror network in Kashmir. She was killed during a movement with terrorists.
ISI Guests in Kashmir
In 2013, Farooq Qureshi sent a man named Javeed Ahmad Khan to Kachhama in Kupwara district on the visa. Javeed stayed with Farooq’s relatives and was in Kashmir for three months. Javeed was a soldier in Pakistan Army and was deployed in ISI to visit Kashmir. Javeed’s father Gulam Mohuddin Khan is an associate of Farooq Qureshi and lives in Pakistan. He is of Kashmiri origin and hails from Kachhama, the same village as the Qureshi brothers. In 1990, Gulam Mohuddin went to Pakistan with his wife, who hails from Marhama Zurhama village in Kupwara district. The couple did not come back. Gulam Mohuddin Khan works as Farooq Qureshi’s lieutenant. Javeed Ahmad Khan, the ISI operative, stayed at the residence of Master Bashir Khan at Kachhama. Master Bashir Khan is Javeed’s uncle.
Advantage Pakistan: The Deal Between Mufti Sayeed and Hizbul Mujahideen
By the late 90s, ISI wanted some Kashmiri terrorist commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen to move to the jihadi training camps in Pakistan in order to train the youth from Kashmir moving there in herds. It was felt that the presence of senior Kashmiris at the jihadi incubation centres would be reassuring for the raw, immature Kashmiri youth reaching there. Kashmiri terrorist commanders were given huge money, well-provided houses and perks to live in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Their marriages with local girls were solemnized to provide them a stable life in Pakistan.Here is a specific incident from Kashmir Archives. Ahead of the 2002 Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Sayeed sought the support of Ghulam Nabi Khan, a dreaded terrorist of Hizbul Mujahideen. Ghulam Nabi Khan was commonly known as Amir Khan. Mufti sought the support of Amir Khan through the latter’s father-in-law, who was a staunch Congress supporter and had switched to PDP after its formation.Amir Khan wanted to relocate to Pakistan. Mufti promised him safe passage in return for electoral consolidation. South Kashmir was under the deep influence of Jamaat e Islami (JeI). This gave power to JeI and to Hizbul Mujahideen to sway the elections in these districts of south Kashmir. Cross-border terror movement was thwarted by the Indian security agencies as part of state policy. In this scenario, Mufti promised safe passage to terrorist commanders to relocate to Pakistan if they ensured PDP victory in the elections. For the Jamaat e Islami and its military arm the Hizbul Mujahideen, having a pliable team in the seat of power was a lucrative proposition. The deal was struck.As per plan, Mufti provided safe passage to Amir Khan to Pakistan. JeI and Hizbul Mujahideen ensured that south Kashmir voted for PDP. After his political career of a few decades with the Congress, Mufti Mohd Sayeed came to power in Jammu and Kashmir. The movement of the dreaded terrorist Amir Khan and his influence upon young Kashmiris moving to jihadi camps greatly benefitted Pakistan. Amir Khan is now second in the organisational hierarchy of Hizbul Mujahideen, after Yousuf Shah alias Syed Salah Ud Din. After the movement of Amir Khan to Pakistan, many other terrorist commanders were facilitated similar travel, courtesy Mehbooba Mufti. These dreaded terrorists include Amin Baba alias Abid Baba, Javed Seepni, Rashid Gadhanjipora and others. All of them are wanted in many cases of extortion and killings.