Friday, 22 May 2015

Isis claims it could buy its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within 12 months

Isis claims it could buy its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within 12 months
Isis has used the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to suggest the group is expanding so rapidly it could buy its first nuclear weapon within a year.

The hyperbolic article, which the group attributes to the British hostage John Cantlie, claims Isis has transcended its roots as “the most explosive Islamic ‘group’ in the modern world” to evolve into “the most explosive Islamic movement the modern world has ever seen” in less than twelve months.

Photojournalist Cantlie is regularly used in the terror group’s propaganda and has appeared in a number of videos, including a YouTube series called "Lend Me Your Ears". He has been held a hostage by Isis for more than two years.

The piece, entitled "The Perfect Storm", describes militant Islamist groups such as Boko Haram, which recently pledged allegiance to Isis, uniting across the Middle East, Africa and Asia to create one global movement.

The article claims this alignment of groups has happened at the sane time as Isis militants have seized “tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems,” from the US and Iran before turning to the subject of more extreme weapons the group is not in possession of - such as nuclear weapons.

“Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table,” the article continues. “The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilāyah in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region."

It admits that such a scenario is “far-fetched” but warns: “It’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago.
"And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That’s easy enough to make."

An attack launched by Isis against America would ridicule "the attacks of the past".
"They’ll [Isis] be looking to do something big, something that would make any past operation look like a squirrel shoot, and the more groups that pledge allegiance the more possible it becomes to pull off something truly epic.

“Remember, all of this has happened in less than a year. How more dangerous will be the lines of communication and supply a year on from today?”

The capacity of Isis to acquire such a device is certainly beyond the group at the moment.
But Isis is indeed a well funded group having secured a number of oilfields in Syria and Iraq. The group also sells artefacts looted from historic areas seized during its insurgency, sometimes for six figure sums, as well as imposing taxes on civilians trapped in its self-declared caliphate and other methods of extortion.

The finances of the group have been estimated by some to be in the $2billion area, though it is impossible to verify how much money it actually has access to.

The threats come against a mixed backdrop of successes and losses in both countries; the group has been driven out of Tikrit in Iraq but has overrun Ramaldi and the Syrian ancient city of Palmyra.
A recent call to arms from its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also appeared to suggest it may be overstretched in some areas, with his speech urging supporters from across the world to travel to its territories in the Middle East.

In September last year, the Home Secretary, Theresa May,warned that the militant group could become the world's first "truly terrorist state".

“We will see the risk, often prophesied but thank God not yet fulfilled, that with the capability of a state behind them, the terrorists will acquire chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons to attack us," she said.


Who’s Part of the Islamic State Depends Whom You Ask. BY LARA JAKES

A U.S.-led coalition is grappling over how to fight the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed allies in Libya and beyond without taking its eyes off Iraq and Syria.

A violent extremist group in Libya has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and kills in the name of the Islamic State, but U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is torn on whether it is, in fact, part of the Islamic State.

Declaring a brutal branch of the Libyan militant group Ansar al-Sharia to be an official offshoot of the Islamic State could potentially compel reluctant nations to use military force against extremists in Libya, further weakening the already faltering fight against the network. Washington is sharply divided, with U.S. officials describing a debate over the extremists’ growth in Libya as recent intelligence shows Islamic State leaders and fighters heading there from strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
Allies in Europe and the Mideast are similarly conflicted. As the Islamic State’s reach continues to spread, some countries now feel more threatened by the outcropping of extremists across Asia and in North Africa than by those based in Iraq and Syria.
But confronting what the Islamic State calls its “distant provinces” could come at a high cost: Diverting limited funds and focus to Libya likely would pull from the fight in Iraq and Syria, where extremist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is steadily seizing territory in his quest to establish an extremist Sunni caliphate. In the past few days alone, the group has captured Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, and the strategically important Syrian city of Palmyra.
In a clear illustration of Washington’s divide, one senior U.S. official said, “There is no question that there are ISIL fighters present in Libya” — including some taking orders directly from Baghdadi.
In a clear illustration of Washington’s divide, one senior U.S. official said, “There is no question that there are ISIL fighters present in Libya” — including some taking orders directly from Baghdadi. The official said it’s impossible to know how many, since some simply label themselves as Islamic State for propaganda gain. Some estimates conclude that as many as 5,000 fighters in Libya identify themselves with the Islamic State.

By contrast, a U.S. intelligence official downplayed the Islamic State’s scope. The group’s influence “has undoubtedly grown in Libya,” the official said. But “despite some defections to ISIL, Ansar al-Sharia has to date largely maintained its identity as a distinct extremist group,” he said.
Three U.S. officials and all of the foreign diplomats interviewed for this report spoke to Foreign Policy on condition of anonymity to discuss the debate more frankly. ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Islamic State’s former name.
Baghdadi’s caliphate, by almost every measure, is growing. Recent intelligence indicates that the Islamic State’s headquarters in Iraq and Syria have sent funds to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, fighters to Tunisia, and advice to Boko Haram militants in Nigeria. A Mideast diplomat, who refused to be identified by his nationality, said the group is now operating in as many as 16 countries, including Algeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
In Libya, meanwhile, militants claiming allegiance to the Islamic State continue to rampage through the country, and on Thursday its Barqah division reported launching a suicide attack against security forces near the village of Harawa, not far from the coastal city of Sirte. A day earlier, extremists claiming to be part of the Islamic State’s Tripoli division said they had seized military bases near Sirte and published photos showing off vehicles, weapons, and ammunition they claimed to have captured after heavy clashes with local militias, according to SITE Intelligence, which monitors online jihadi messaging.
For the White House, though, such pictures may not be enough to convince senior administration officials that the militants in Libya are directly linked to Baghdadi. The administration has clear political reasons for avoiding a formal, public pronouncement that the Islamic State has spread to Libya: That would further embolden critics who believe Obama was too slow to confront the militants in Iraq and Syria and hasn’t devoted enough military resources to the fight there.
“Within the Obama administration, the stronger party is focused on Iraq,” the Mideast diplomat said in a recent interview. 

 “They are so occupied with Syria and Iraq, they are not focused on ISIL affiliates in Libya.”
It’s also true, however, that defeating the Islamic State in its own backyard would deliver a crippling, if not fatal, blow to the entire network. “To get at ISIL, you have to strike at the caliphate,” a senior U.S. official said.
The question of how to deal with the Islamic State as it spreads across Asia and Africa will be front and center at a June 2 meeting in Paris of diplomats who are part of the global coalition to defeat the extremists. Their debate over the “distant provinces” of the militant network is just the latest hurdle confronting the 60-nation alliance, which is beset by political rivalries and has little to show for its efforts since its creation last summer.

In Libya’s case, the spiritual leader of Ansar al-Sharia, Abu Abdullah al-Libi, pledged bayat, or allegiance, to the Islamic State this past March. Once bayat is pledged, the group is officially considered part of the Islamic State, said Robert Ford, a leading Arabist and former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Algeria.

Ansar al-Sharia is widely believed to be the largest of Libya’s jihadi groups, however, and U.S. officials said not all of its militants followed the pledge.
Washington is also under pressure from countries like Egypt and Italy, where leaders are worriedly watching what they describe as the unmistakable rise of the Islamic State in Libya.
Islamic State fighters beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya this past February, and the group has threatened to attack Italy and potentially even the Vatican, as thousands of North African migrants flee from Libya for safety across the Mediterranean Sea. The Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily are located just a few hundred miles from Libya’s shores.

“Regarding in Libya, Italy is asking that we should use all possible instruments and tools that are being developed in the coalition” to counter the Islamic State, an Italian diplomat said in an interview this week.
“Wherever ISIL is trying to arise, we are asking our partners to enlarge the scope.”
“Wherever ISIL is trying to arise, we are asking our partners to enlarge the scope.”
Specifically, the diplomat said, Rome wants the 60-nation coalition to start focusing on how to limit foreign fighters and funding from moving between Libya and other Islamic State havens, including Iraq and Syria.
However, the Italian diplomat cited likely insurmountable divisions within the coalition over using military force against Islamic State fighters in Libya, where the 2011 NATO assault that ousted dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi unleashed continuing violence and political chaos.
Even in 2011, the Obama administration had little appetite for getting deeply involved in Libya, and now it is far more reluctant to do so without the help of any reliable government there. The United Nations is trying to broker a political agreement among Libya’s interim government and competing parties to create a lasting, democratic rule before the mid-June start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, but almost certainly will fail to meet that deadline. Libya’s legislature expires in October, and the United Nations is feverishly working to schedule national elections before then.
The Italian diplomat insisted that there is a “growing consensus” within the coalition to identify Ansar al-Sharia militants as an Islamic State front in Libya — which, in turn, could force a military response. But other European diplomats are taking a far more cautious approach, arguing for focusing the coalition’s efforts solely on fighting the militants in Iraq and Syria.
“If we start to have a Libya that is totally taken over by militants who are actually not just saying, but are having active and proven connections to Daesh in Syria and Iraq, we might have to extend its definition,” said one Washington-based European diplomat, who refused to be identified by his nationality.
Daesh is the acronym of the Islamic State’s full name in Arabic.
Congress this year sidelined an Obama administration proposal to use military force against the Islamic State, fearing that its open-ended scope could send U.S. troops across the globe to fight any militant organization that flies the extremist group’s signature black flag. But lawmakers are also deeply divided over the limits of the president’s authority to order military strikes, and House Speaker John Boehner this week said the White House should “start over” with a new plan in the wake of Ramadi’s fall.

Those fears get to the heart of the concerns over formally recognizing Ansar al-Sharia as an Islamic State affiliate. To prevent just any extremist group from declaring itself a branch of the Islamic State — and winning the jihadi prestige that this label brings — the 60-nation coalition is trying to develop a set of criteria that must be met before a group is seen as a broad, legitimate threat. A similar set of criteria — including a command structure between core leaders and affiliates, and posing a direct threat to the United States and Western interests — was adopted by the U.S. government for al Qaeda as it metastasized during the last decade.
One U.S. official this week predicted that guidelines for identifying Islamic State offshoots will be introduced at the June 2 meeting, though the coalition is not expected to specifically name any affiliates.
Ford, the former U.S. ambassador, cast doubt on Baghdadi’s ability to control the Islamic State’s distant provinces in places like Libya or other locations where militants have pledged bayat. He noted “varying degrees of integration of groups outside Syria and Iraq into the Islamic State,” but said the oath of allegiance should be considered a deciding factor as to whether they are an official affiliate.
“Once they’ve done that, to me, then you have to put them on a list,” Ford said.
As recently as February, at least 33 extremist groups had linked themselves to the Islamic State, and that number all but certainly has grown in the months since, the Mideast diplomat said. Over the six-month period from August 2014 to February 2015, he said, coalition forces killed an estimated 7,000 Islamic State fighters. But in that same period, the Islamic State recruited 8,000 more.
“So whatever we are doing, it is not effective, compared to the root causes of terrorism,” said the Mideast diplomat. He said some countries want to directly confront Ansar al-Sharia: “The fighters in western Libya have adopted the same methodology as ISIL, and we should fight them all,” he said.
Meanwhile, “the U.S. position is, let’s do this one at a time,” he said, predicting that there will be little, if any, substantive progress made at the meeting in Paris.
“This is going to lead to nowhere within the coalition,” he said. “We should do something before it is too late.


Mumbai: Man denied job for being Muslim

Mumbai: Man denied job for being Muslim

Mumbai, May 22 (Only Kashmir): In a blatant case of religious discrimination and racism, a Mumbai-based diamond export company Hari Krishna Exports has rejected the job application of a business management graduate on the grounds that he is a Muslim.

Zeshan Ali Khan posted a screenshot of the “regret” email from a senior executive of the company on his Facebook page, which led to a national outrage.
“Thanks for your application. We regret to inform you that we hire only non-Muslim candidates,” read the mail sent by Hare Krishna Exports Private Limited company, which enjoys global presence.

Later lawyer and activist Shehzad Poonawalla filed a complaint to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Union Home Ministry and Chief Minister of Maharashtra, seeking justice for the alleged case of discrimination. NCM chairperson Naseem Ahmed has acknowledged receipt of the petition.

“The Constitution of India forbids discrimination on the basis of religion or caste. A company can hire or fire anyone on the basis of merit, not on the basis of religion,” Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Thursday.
Hitting out at the Modi government, Zeshan said posted, “our Prime Minister
Narendra Modi talks about inclusive growth, but the reality is that private companies do not care about it. The company could have rejected me if they found I was not qualified enough. But they have rejected me simply because I am a Muslim. Sounds like a joke.”

http://onlykashmir.in/mumbai-man-denied-job-for-being-muslim/

Friday, 15 May 2015

Understanding Balochistan’s importance - A complex issue with a simple solution, BY YASMEEN AFTAB ALI

Understanding Balochistan’s importance - A complex issue with a simple solution, BY YASMEEN AFTAB ALI
 The fuss over the prospective economic corridor to be built with Chinese help is better understood in light of the geographical layout of Gwader, the benefits and threats it offers and the dynamics of Balochistan. I quote excerpts from my article published October 1, 2013:
‘Gwadar port, located at the entrance of Strait of Hormuz, offers huge economic opportunities not only to Pakistan but to others too i.e., the Central Asian Republics, Middle East, South Asia and the Gulf States. By the very virtue of this strategic geographical location, it creates a conflict of interests between nations deeply influenced by its development. Gwadar provides the shortest possible access for Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean and is the most cost effective.’
“Fazl-e-Haider in The National, UAE, states, “The port has the potential to serve as a secure outlet as well as a storage and transshipment hub for the Middle East and Central Asia oil and gas supplies through a well-defined corridor passing through Pakistan. Gwadar gives China a land-based oil supply port that is not controlled by superior US naval power. Gwadar port, through the proposed energy and trade corridors, gives western China access to the sea. Crude oil imports from Iran, the Arab Gulf states and Africa could be transported overland to north-west China through the port.” (October 7, 2012)
“In my opinion, militarily, Gwadar will offer an immediate strategic advantage to Pakistan in case of any future armed conflict by not being held hostage to Karachi. It also compliments China’s ‘String of Pearls’ strategy offering maritime access points to Chinese navy within the area of Indian Ocean. India feels most threatened by Gwadar agreement between China and Pakistan, writes Farooq Yousuf in a national local daily. “Among its critics, India is the most prominent that raised concerns over Gwadar agreement calling it a threat to India’s maritime security. Indian military analysts are of the opinion that the port’s only objective for China is to encircle India in the sea through the famously known concept of String of Pearlsor the Chinese ally ports encircling India. Such concerns apparently are exaggerated and uncalled for as, first, Pakistan is in need of an economic push to save its dwindling economy. Moreover, Pakistan has rarely expressed concerns on India purchasing state of the art weaponry from its friends, such as Israel.” (February 22, 2013)
“The view by Robert D Kaplana world renowned journalist, is forthright, “The world’s “busiest and most important interstate, is the Indian Ocean, with 50 per cent of all container traffic and 70 per cent of all petroleum traffic traversing its waters. It is this region — with China and India jockeying for dominance, the United States trying to maintain its influence and unstable regimes threatening the flow of resources — that will be the setting for most of the global conflicts in the coming decades.” (New York Post, October 2010) India, on heels of the MoU signed between Pakistan and China has gone ahead to sign a port deal with Iran. The cargo terminal at Chahbahar, will give India a better chance to embed herself in Afghanistan, as well as offering an alternate route to land locked Afghanistan presently very much reliant upon Pakistan for this. India has ignored in their haste, tripping over their shoelaces to get the deal cut, dried and in the bag, warning by the US before final nuclear terms be settled with Tehran.
“Therefore, with China’s commitment to invest another $1.62 billion for development of Gwadar with an aim to connect Gwadar to Xinjiang thereby acting as a corridor for China’s Maritime Silk Route that is going to link up many countries, some of them currently landlocked as a part of this project, is not sitting well with those who rule the roost presently.”
The stakes are high and upsetting of the apple cart will hurt many. Mian Abrarin his recent op-ed in Pakistan Today points out; “Balochistan has once again come under media spotlight. However, the timing of the media focus returning to Balochistan is not only significant but its nature has also changed. With landmark agreements signed between China and Pakistan for investment of $46 billion in Pakistan, the Balochistan problem is resurfacing — suggesting that something has been cooking elsewhere. The sequence of the recent events also suggests that the brutal murder of the civil society activist Sabeen Mahmud has something to do with these developments.” (May 2, 2015)
If one recalls, a report released to the parliamentarians sometime in early December 2010, by former Director General Military Operations Ahmed Shuja Pasha, shared that Russia and India were also involved in the insurgency in Balochistan. Pasha had shared the presence of nine training camps dotting the Afghan border for the training of members of BLA. “He also claimed, “India and the UAE (reportedly due to opposition to construction of the Gwadar port) were funding and arming the Baloch. Pasha also claimed that the Russian government was directly involved in funding/training/supporting the insurgency.” (Newspaper report published December 3, 2010) The mention of UAE is interesting as Dubai Port’s strategic interests may be hurt with a fully functional Gwadar Port.
To jog a few memories here, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had tabled a resolution in the House of Representatives that called upon Pakistan to accept the right of Baloch self-determination. This was followed a week later of chairing a Congressional Meeting on Balochistan, and reported in local newspapers on February 18th, 2012.
To get a bigger picture, situation in Balochistan must be analysed. I quote Khan Zia from his latest piece, ‘Balochistan – facts and fiction’, “Any claim that these few individuals represent the desires and aspirations of all the people of Balochistan is manifestly mischievous. Ethnic Balochis are in a minority in the province itself. In a total population of around eight million, their number is about three million, divided among eighty-two or so tribes. Out of these only parts of three tribes are active in revolt. Economic development depends upon a host of factors that include the starting base, existing infrastructure, environmental conditions that can support concentrations of population, availability of trained workforce, managerial talent, state of security and recourse to justice, access to education and health institutions, etc. All of these subjects fall under provincial jurisdiction and the blame for their unsatisfactory state in Balochistan cannot be laid on rest of the country. If anything, the per capita share of federal funds is much greater for Balochistan than any other province.” (The writer is author of ‘Muslims and the West: A Muslim Perspective and ‘Pakistan: Roots, Perspective and Genesis’)
I completely concur on the provincial nature of the elements quoted, emotional rhetoric by some notwithstanding.
The government plans to make Gwadar a free port thereby exempt from excise duty. One need to be reminded here that the Jabal Ali Port in Dubai is also a free port. The completion of Gwadar Port will be an economic elixir not only for the country but also for Balochistan that will provide jobs for the locals thereby improving their economic condition.
Any government that actively seeks to complete the Gwadar project and achieves the goal can look forward to another five years in office, with ease. Can PML-N deliver?


Thursday, 14 May 2015

A tale of passion and deceit, Junaid Qureshi

A tale of passion and deceit, Junaid Qureshi

I had taken my matriculation exams and was awaiting its result. Srinagar was pretty cold. The political atmosphere was rather boiling since a few months, which had also ignited the fire of ‘Azaadi’ in my heart. Like many of my contemporaries, I had also become a regular face at rallies of ‘freedom fighters’. One such rally changed my life.

It was the month of March and the year was 1990. Tens of thousands of people participated in that rally held at Eidgah. All ‘freedom fighters’, who were idolized by me and my friends were standing with guns in their hands on a truck and raising slogans of freedom. It made me believe that indeed ‘Azaadi’ was what we needed and ‘Azaadi’ was what these guns would bring to us. After the rally, the passion of ‘Azaadi’ compelled me to follow one man to his house. This man was standing on the truck, close to the freedom fighters, but did not carry a gun himself.

I reached his home and before he could enter his gate, I told him that I also wanted to fight for freedom. He invited me inside his house. While offering me a cup of tea, he instructed me to keep participating in rallies and raising slogans. He told me, that my time would come soon.

Within a few weeks of our initial meeting, he met me again after one such rally and told me, “Be ready tomorrow morning”. I woke up in the morning and made my way to the local mosque for morning prayers. Before leaving, I kissed the doorway of my home and kept staring at the closed door of my parent’s room. Something in me said that I should see them once before leaving, but then something strange prevented me from doing so. Maybe this feeling in my heart was nothing more than a mere delusion and I just didn’t want to wake them up. I left. 

I was taken to a hide-out in Jama-Latta. There were 8 more boys already present there. I was the last one to join. Three senior leaders of the nationalist group, of which I wanted to be part of, arrived and rejected 2 boys while selecting the remaining 7. Fortunately, I was selected. We were sent to another hide-out in Eidgah. We did not speak much. There was very tense yet exciting radiation which loomed over us. Perhaps it was the excitement of my dreams of freedom or perhaps it was the fear of the unknown. I don’t know. From Eidgah we went to Sopore in two small cars. We were joined by one more person in Sopore and headed towards Kupwara.

At night we boarded a closed truck in Kupwara. We could not see where we were being taken to. We reached Hayihama, where we were taken to the huts of some local Gujjars. Again, there was this eerie silence which was so frightening that it choked me up. I tried to get hold of myself by pulling my hands into my warm pheran, hoping that others would not notice my restlessness and blame the cold for my shivering.

Two guides picked us up around midnight and we started walking towards the LoC. It was awfully cold and there was a lot of snow. Many of us suffered from initial frostbite as we were only provided with rubber boots to conquer these majestic mountains. After 7 hours of non-stop walking, two of us couldn’t go any further. They were exhausted and grasping for breath. Although they were still alive, it was as if the angel of life had left their torn bodies. Their eyes begged for help but our guides insisted that we must move on.

Call it my cowardliness to fight or selfishness to live, but we moved on. We offered funeral-prayers while they were still alive. The look in their eyes, while I recited Holy verses meant for the deceased, has never left my sight since then. Their trembling young bodies and the sheer helplessness in their eyes, still shake my soul. 

We walked for 30 hours before reaching a picket of the Pakistani Rangers at Athmuqam in ‘Azad Kashmir’. I could not feel my legs anymore, while I felt my heart beating in my throat. We were allowed to rest for six hours before another senior leader picked us up from the army picket. We were taken to a house in lower-plate, Muzaffarabad.

It took almost a month before we were taken to ‘Elaka Gairr’ in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan for our much desired ‘training’. The place was arid without any sign of life around. There were no manmade structures and we slept in tents. It was a basic training of 3 weeks in which I learned to operate pistols, Kalashnikovs, rocket-launchers, grenades and LMG’s. Our instructors were a mix of active and retired personnel of the Pakistani Army.

We returned to Muzaffarabad after a short stop-over in Rawalpindi. The situation had changed drastically in the meantime. Dozens of other groups had been born which were propagating Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Training camps had been established in the area, as the influx of boys from the other side had increased and preparations were being made to provide ‘whole-sale trainings’ for ‘Azaadi’. An old match-stick factory was converted into a camp and another camp was established in Garhi Dupatta.

On our return, we were told to abandon our own nationalist group and become part of one of the Pro-Pakistani groups. We would only enjoy their support if we would take off the cloak of freedom fighters and transform into proxies. I refused.

I had come here to fight for an Independent Kashmir. I refused to sacrifice my youth and the dreams of my parents to become a Pakistani. My journey was not inspired by tales of heroism or indoctrinated by stories of injustice to the Muslims. I harboured an intense determination and believed in an Independent Kashmir. Pakistan was nothing more than an elder brother and our benefactor, assisting us in achieving our Independence. Indeed, I was young and perhaps stupid. At times I wonder, whether it was naïve of me or sheer cunningness on their part? 

Three boys including myself refused. Our nationalism proved to be a dangerous ideology in Pakistan. It turned us into wanderers. The Pakistani ISI stopped paying for our expenses and we were left at the mercy of local supporters who either believed in our ideology or pitied us.

Later on we were given refuge at an old temple in Rawalpindi by a senior Pakistani politician. We paid him back by conducting his election campaign and raising slogans in his favour, while he manifested himself as the champion of the Kashmiri cause. Our extortion and politics continued in this game.
The announcement of a Provisional Government turned out to be the final nail in the coffin of my dreams. My party got splintered into many factions and whatever hope was left inside of me, died. The ISI started harassing us and pressurizing us to join their Pro-Pakistani groups. We resisted and burned a government Pajero. They tried to apprehend us and we came to a point where we even had to exchange fire.

We were told to create a new Pro-Pakistani group of our own, if we disliked the existing ones. We would then be launched back into the Valley from the platform of our newly created group on the condition that two of us would have to stay back as ‘hostages’. It was becoming clear to me that they wanted to split us and our struggle into tiny bits and pieces. I had also started realizing that they would never support the idea of an independent Kashmir.

 A senior leader from Srinagar came to Muzaffarabad and made a new Pro-Pakistani group. He advised us to join his party. He explained that if we would keep clinching to the idea of an Independent Kashmir, the ISI will never allow us to go back to the Valley. He tried to help us as a Kashmiri and told us that after joining his group and returning back to the Valley, we were free to join our own nationalist group again. He taught us to be smart and deceive. While trusting him, we agreed and the arrangements for our return started in less than two weeks.

In total, it took me a little more than one year to return to the Valley. After 4 days of walking, we reached Kupwara and split into smaller groups of two. I boarded a bus to Srinagar while I played the role of the conductor in order to avoid any difficult questions from the security forces.

I reached Srinagar and tears started filling my eyes. I went back to the local mosque from where I had left and requested the Imam to inform my parents of my return.
….. My father and my mother hurried to the mosque. Tears were rolling down the cheeks of my mother while she cried out my name. I embraced her and nestled my face into her shoulder, hoping that she wouldn't see me cry. The eyes of my father harboured happiness while his face was marked by a pensive mood. He was joyful to see me alive, yet at the same time, he was fearful of what would happen next to me. After the painful reunion, I was sent to my uncle’s home.

After a few weeks, I was contacted by other members of the Nationalist group of which I was part of. I took off the cloak of the Pro-Pakistani group which I had only worn to reach back to Srinagar. I became an active militant and was given a Pistol. Now after all the pain, deceit and politics which I had endured, I was somewhat joyful and hopeful. Now, I was ready to fight for ‘Azaadi’.

Only after becoming active, I came to know that my fight for ‘Azaadi’, would soon transform into a mere battle for survival. Not only was I fighting the mighty Indian state, I was also fighting fellow Kashmiris who, whether genuinely or not, believed in a different ideology. Just like in Muzaffarabad, even in Srinagar the ideology of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan enjoyed powerful support from Pakistan’s intelligence agency. Their created groups started killing us, as our demand was different from theirs. We believed in an Independent, Secular and United Kashmir whereas they wanted Kashmir’s annexation to Pakistan on the basis of their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. My fellow Kashmiri brethren who belonged to a different faith, were also killed mercilessly in order to ignite fear and transform Kashmir into a hell. Again, I was put up with a dilemma. Fight for ‘Azaadi’ or preserve Kashmiriyat?

One prominent member of my group was shot by members of a Pro-Pakistani group in Nowhatta, Srinagar and when he begged for water while fighting against the angel of death, he was given a few drops of water from the waste channel on the street. His humiliation was exacerbated as the water was given to him in a shoe. The rivalry between us and the groups fighting for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan increased so much that our killings were finding justification as nationalists like me started receiving epithets of ‘Indian agent’, ‘Traitor’ and ‘Enemy of Islam’. I started to comprehend that indeed Pakistan would never support our fight for Independence and in order to root out this ideology they could go to any extent. What more horrendous could they do, than to get a Kashmiri killed by a Kashmiri?

This rivalry also ignited the fire of revenge in me and in the hearts of many members of my group. We also started killing them. Instead of fighting for Kashmir’s ‘Azaadi’, we all started fighting for our own small, personal ‘Azaadi’. We started liberating localities from the rule of each other. The rivalry spilled over and even members of Pro-Pakistani groups started killing each other. Due to this rivalry thousands of Kashmiris were killed by Kashmiris. Parents, widows and orphans of those who were killed, were left at the mercy of God and used to be presented with a copy of the Holy Quran. Their livelihood and the future of their children were not considered part of our ‘struggle’.

I used to ask myself what would happen to my parents if I would get killed. Although all of us, the ones killed by the security forces and the ones killed amongst each other due to rivalries, were buried in the Martyr’s graveyard at Eidgah, I wondered whether I would still be called a Martyr if I would get killed by my own Kashmiri brothers in this bloodshed? Was martyrdom just dependent on the place of burial or did it matter for what I would die?

We also lost track of our normal activities as we used to do an action just to remain in the news. Our actions were only aimed at keeping our group and ourselves alive. The aim of ‘Azaadi’ had long faded away. We used to hurl grenades at moving trucks of security forces and subsequently open fire, with total disregard to whether the truck was moving in a busy market street or on a deserted road. More than often the grenade would miss the target and explode on the street.

The explosion, firing and retaliation fire from the security forces used to kill dozens of civilians. At best, one or two soldiers endured injuries, while usually children, women and innocent men would become the victims of our ‘Jihad’ for righteousness.

My disillusionment grew by the day. I did not want to murder Kashmiris. I did not want to be culpable of the death of innocent women and children. I did not want to get killed by fellow Kashmiris for the sin of asking ‘Azaadi’. I did not want to be guilty of transforming this valley of Saints and Reshis into a valley of blood and destruction. I was tired. I wanted my life back.

I had now understood that the fulfilment of my humble wish for ‘Azaadi’ would never be allowed by those who were determined to keep me a slave. I now, just longed for my own, small, personal and selfish freedom. At least, my freedom would free me from the sin of murdering Kashmir and Kashmiris.

While firmly standing by my ideology and without surrendering any arms, I surrendered myself to the local police in the hope of embarking upon a path which was at least free from violence. The police advised me to join an anti-militancy militia, sponsored by the state. I explained to them that I did not surrender because I had given up on my ideology or because I harboured any vengeance against the militants. I came to them as I did not want to kill Kashmiris. And now, you are advising me to kill Kashmiris? “I will not be part of this game of deceit”, I yelled.

My refusal triggered their refusal to acknowledge that I was a human being. I was interrogated and tortured to the extent that mere words will not be able to describe my ordeal. Without any court proceedings or charge-sheet, I was kept in jail for 3 years. The years in jail were filled with days and nights of torture, humiliation and loneliness. Years which made me believe that indeed, I was not a human being and thus not worthy of any humane treatment.

After my release, I tried to start a normal life of a common man. However, to my surprise the whole scenario in Kashmir had changed. The heroism and regard once attached to militants had turned into resentment and disrespect. I struggle to find a suitable shop in order to start a small business, as I am an ex-militant. After so many years, I still struggle to find a suitable bride as I am hunted by my past of being a militant.

The state apparatus which once encouraged people like me to abandon the path of violence, made life even more miserable. An ex-militant like me is not able to get a job anywhere. My life turns upside down whenever a dignitary visits Kashmir or whenever Independence day, Republic day or any other national day is celebrated. I, and along with me many others are called to local police stations or Army camps on these days where we are degraded.

Many of my contemporaries including the more fortunate ones like Doctors, Engineers and well-settled business-men are humiliated at these places. We are ordered to sweep and clean the Army camps and Police Stations. Some of us are made to sit on dirty floors while all of us have to face their abuses and harassment. 
Conquering snow-clad mountains and reaching Pakistan for that deceitful dream was somewhat less painful than my failed journey to acquire a ration-card, identity card, driving license or a passport. My parents were denied a passport due to which they were unable to perform Hajj as their son used to be a militant. Even distant relatives of mine were not given a passport. My nephew still wants to go abroad for higher studies, but he can’t as his uncle used to be a militant. 

I am still looked at and treated differently by fellow Kashmiris, the police and by India and Pakistan. Perhaps because I neither became a Martyr nor a ‘Leader’. Neither do I have a political party nor do I appear in the newspapers. Neither do I call for Hartals nor am I placed under house arrest.

All because, I refused to kill Kashmiris and become part of a proxy war. Others who did not refuse, at least became someone, while I even lost myself. At the end, their deceitful lies defeated my truthful passion. 
Feedback :junaidqureshi8@yahoo.com


Pakistan has lost out in Kashmir: Dulat

Pakistan has lost out in Kashmir: Dulat
Published at 14/05/2015 

Pakistan has lost out in Kashmir: Dulat
·       UN resolutions are dead and buried
·       Geelani doesn’t see reality when it is staring at his face
·       Shabir Shah had the best opportunity to contest polls
·       Delhi should not push Mufti to the wall
·       No need for separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits
Years of association with the troubled politics of Jammu and Kashmir has earned former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief, Amarjit Singh Dulat friends among the mainstream as well as separatist leaders and an insight into their capabilities and compulsions. In an exclusive interview with Rising Kashmir Political Editor, Faisul Yaseen, he delves into the ‘missed opportunities’ of separatists and the changes in the discourse of Kashmir politics.
 What brings you here?
I come here every spring. This year I was a bit late. Normally I come here in the last week of April. It is a lovely time to be here. The weather is good. It isn’t too hot. I play a little bit of golf, and meet old friends.

By old friends, do you mean separatists?
I regard them as friends. I don’t know whether they regard me as their friend. One thing I have learnt in Kashmir is you do not take any one for granted. I regard separatists as my friends because of the fact that I spent time with them. Now, some meet, some don’t meet. When I am here, it gets known that I am here, and I am available. Yes, separatists are friends. Shabir Shah is one of those friends who I thought has forgotten me. Among the separatists, I spent the maximum time with him. He is honest and candid. But somewhere, he thought we were not getting anywhere. When you start dialogue or a process, you hope to reach somewhere.

 Was he correct?
May be it has been our fault. May be it has been his fault. I don’t want to pinpoint anyone. I think he had the best opportunity in the separatist camp. He was the one who was spoken to first. Others were still part of the Hurriyat, and Hurriyat was a big thing, and getting to Hurriyat was not easy. Shabir was outside the Hurriyat, then he joined the Hurriyat, then they threw him out of the Hurriyat.  So he was always at the loose end, and always by himself. Somewhere, he lost out. He had a great opportunity in 1996 and he also had a little opportunity in 2002. If you are a politician, whether you are a separatist or not, you have to get into politics.  If you stay outside, then you must say, alright, I have talked to you, and I am not getting in politics, I am outside that. The real fact is that most of these younger separatists, I am not talking of the older people like Professor (Abdul Gani) sahab, Abbas (Ansari) sahab or (Syed Ali) Geelani sahab but the younger lot all have political ambitions or had political ambitions but somewhere it has got stuck. It has not moved in the right direction.
 Has Government of India something to do with that? We have already seen the fate of Sajad Gani Lone?
It can be that they made mistakes. I can only say that they have had opportunities. Somewhere they got stuck. I think that Mirwaiz has a great future but he must also realize that opportunities in politics in Kashmir come once in six years. He has to get into some kind of process. He has to think that. I once wrote whether he wants to be a pope for the life or Chief Minister of Jammu Kashmir. When we first talked to Sajad, he said, “How can I get into elections, I am a separatist.” I think Sajad is one of the brightest politicians. Now that he is in it, he has a great future. If Sajad would be honest to himself, he would agree that he has wasted 13 years. In 2002, he did not contest and put up proxy candidates. Now finally he has become a minister. I am sure his time of being a chief minister will come. Age is on his side. Age is also on the side of Mirwaiz. But time passes. Time goes on. I think Shabir has missed the bus. He is a little older than these people. He had his opportunities. He had his chances. He was the most favoured of all the separatists.

Among all the separatists, who should New Delhi be backing?
Everybody, I would still back all of them. When I say backing, I mean, we should be talking to everybody. I am a great believer in talking. Engagement should never end. ‘Guftugu band no ho; Baat sey baat chaley.’ Dialogue should never end. When we first started talks with Shabir Shah, he said, “What will we talk about.” I told him, “We will talk about talks, about dialogue process.” Engagements should never end. I don’t know why Delhi is not engaging or why these people are not engaging. I don’t know where the problem lies. I am now 11 years out of government. I can’t say where the problem lies. May be, both sides.

Did you ever try to engage Syed Ali Geelani?
I have never met Geelani sahab. He is the one Kashmiri leader I have never met.
 Why so?
I don’t know. I missed something. After I left the government, I have been very keen to meet him. I have asked some friends that I have not been able to reach out to him. Even today, I would be quite happy to meet Geelani sahab.
 Do you regret that?
I do not regret it but, yes, it is something that I have missed in Kashmir. It is not that nobody ever talked to Geelani sahab. I am sure people from the establishment did talk to him. I know the people from the establishment did talk to him but it was not serious from our side. It was just checking out.
 He is the most popular leader in Kashmir particularly among the youth.
There have been ups and downs. It has something to do with 2008. That is when youth got angry over Amarnath land transfer. It was when youth first got angry and Geelani sahab again became a big figure. Before that Musharraf told him, “Old man get out of the way. Don’t be a nuisance. Don’t make a nuisance of yourself.” After that Geelani sahab always cursed Musharraf. It is post-2008 that Geelani sahab has again come into his own. Geelani sahab has stuck to that line. The more he has been sidelined, the more stubbornly he has stuck to that line of Pakistan. It suits Pakistan. It has become a stubborn thing with him that ‘I will live and die with Pakistan.’
 Do you think that he is the best bet for Pakistan?
I don’t think Pakistan has a bet here really. I have met a lot of Pakistanis. I talked to a lot of Pakistanis. I think Pakistan has lost out in Kashmir. If Pakistan is making a comeback here, it is because of our mistakes.
 What makes you think that? What makes you so confident? Recently, waving of just one Pakistan flag almost toppled the State government and triggered a never-ending debate in the Parliament.
One Pakistan flag, what does that mean? Is that for the first time that Pakistan flag has been waved in Kashmir? Pakistan slogans have been raised quite frequently at Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid where Mirwaiz addresses the gathering. Even the day when (Abdul Gani) Lone sahab was killed, before that pro-Pakistan slogans were raised in that rally. Sajad even said that ISI got him killed. His initial reaction was that. Coming back to Geelani sahab, Mirwaiz last year said, “Who the hell is Geelani.” He must have been very angry. I am not trying to give an impression that Pakistan is not a factor and does not matter. Over the years, the idea of creating this proxy war and sustaining the proxy war has died down. It still happens. There are some pockets like Tral, Shopian and Sopore and things can still take place and take place everywhere.
 In a way you are saying that pro-Pakistan constituency in Kashmir has shrunk?
It has shrunk. It grows because Geelani sahab helps it grow. He looks bigger than life. If you don’t engage with moderates, then the hardliners come into play. Why did Musharraf tell Geelani sahab to get out of the way? He thought that Geelani sahab was only an obstacle, a nuisance. Between Musharraf and Government of India, we were trying to get the separatists into play and Geelani sahab would not stop talking Pakistan and taking that hardline stance.
 How do you see the role of mainstream politicians here?
The role of mainstream politicians has been growing all the time. Pakistan understands that. Post 2002, Pakistan has shown more interest in the mainstream. It has shown more interest in elections here. It has shown more interest in the outcome of election here. When Omar (Abdullah) sahab went to Pakistan, Musharaff was very impressed by Omar Abdullah and Omar Abdullah with Musharaff. These are good exposures. There is nothing wrong in it.
 How have these mainstream politicians like Farooq Abdullah, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Omar Abdullah dealt with Kashmir?
I think everybody has dealt with it in his own way. Farooq sahab had his own way. Mufti sahab has in own way. Omar sahab was still learning. His period was not so great. Generally, people were not that happy. He was not as accessible as Farooq sahab. Mufti sahab is determined to do a good job.
 What makes you think people of Kashmir will invest in mainstream politics seeing the helplessness of the successive chief ministers before New Delhi. Omar Abdullah would frequently talk about revocation of AFSPA and demilitarization yet it never happened in his six years. Before that, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed too could not do anything about it.
It is unfortunate. It is for the government here to decide about AFSPA. If it does not want AFSPA, they should take it up seriously with New Delhi. Army’s view is that the problem here has not ended and they require that extra backup. This is an issue that has gone on. Omar sahab did try but he failed. May be Mufti sahab can try now.
This coalition or alliance is a unique experiment, an imaginative experiment. If it succeeds, and I think it should succeed, it must succeed, then all the polarization that has taken place post 2008 between Kashmir and Jammu, could end. It could bring Kashmir and Jammu together like it brought PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) together.
 You think it will last six years?
I have been very hopeful and I am still hopeful but here in the last five days sometimes I got the impression that people have doubts whether it will last or not last. It is not a natural alliance. It is an unnatural alliance. It is a compulsion for both sides. If both sides understand that compulsion, then it should last six years. If one of the two sides thinks that there is no need for it, then it may not last.
 Generally, there is an impression that State BJP wants to continue with the alliance but BJP at New Delhi is uncomfortable with what Mufti Sayeed did here with decisions like release of Hurriyat leader Masrat Alam. After that he too has been stifling the separatists. So the general impression is he is no different from Omar Abdullah.
Whether Mufti sahab is different from Omar sahab or not or he faces the same compulsions that time will tell. Mufti sahab is a very canny politician. He is a smart politician. It was Omar sahab’s first innings. So there is lot of difference there. Mufti sahab has been a Union Home Minister. He has been a chief minister before. This is his second time. He knows. Omar sahab was raw. It was his first time. I am sure next time Omar sahab will be a better chief minister. I don’t have any doubts about it. I think sitting in the opposition will do him good. He will learn politics. He should.
 How do you see the knee-jerk reaction in New Delhi to what a chief minister is doing here? A pro-India politician like him was accused of being a pro-Pakistan CM?
I don’t know of these reactions. I don’t want to react to Delhi’s reactions. At this point of time, he needs every support. He should not be pushed to the wall. He should not be cornered. He should be supported. He is doing nothing wrong. If he made a mistake in releasing Masrat Alam, he realized that mistake and has locked him up. I don’t see Mufti sahab doing anything wrong. He would like to govern and he is very keen to govern. Mufti sahab also knows this is his last hurrah. He has mellowed a great deal. I met him the other day. He is not the Mufti of 2002. He is a much more mellowed person. He appears much more accommodative today. Some of the things he is doing to accommodate Delhi today, he would not have done in 2002. He refused to do those things in 2002.
 Is it due to a strong government in New Delhi?
New Delhi should be there to oversee but not issue diktat to the State government. If New Delhi is concerned about J&K, then New Delhi’s own party is a part of the State government. After all, the deputy chief minister is from BJP. Whatever New Delhi requires to do should be done through the deputy chief minister.
 New Delhi has tried to engage with separatists because they have a backing of the militant groups. Why not engage with the real players, militants?
I don’t think so. The idea of dealing with the separatists is that they represent a slightly different thought from the mainstream. By engagement, you can make them understand. Musharaff’s four-point proposal is the closest that we have come to some kind of forward movement. All four points were not acceptable to either sides but we were quite close. Coming in and going, opening of borders, making borders irrelevant that is the general idea. There was a forward movement. Separatists were happy. The same separatists, the same Hurriyat had two rounds of talks with the same party – BJP.
 New Delhi called off foreign secretary level talks over a petty issue.
My view is same with regard to Pakistan as it is with regard to Kashmir, ‘Guftagu band na ho; Baat sey baat chaley.’ This permanent disconnect doesn’t make sense to me. I am sure it will resume.
 How serious is Islamabad?
We will get to know about their seriousness in the course of time. Only when you talk, will you get to know. There were a lot of reservations about Musharraf when we first started engaging with him. Musharraf was far more provocative than any other Pakistani has been. He caused Kargil. He caused a lot of havoc and yet we talked to him. However, in that thing we wasted some time. When he started going down and lost power in 2006-07, it was a great window of opportunity that was lost.
 The provocations are not coming from Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif is not provoking India on Kashmir. Asif Ali Zardari has not been provocative on Kashmir. Another PM hopeful Imran Khan’s stand on Kashmir is moderate. Pakistan Army chief has not been provocative. Why are the provocations coming from New Delhi?
There is a difference in rhetoric. I don’t take that rhetoric seriously. Kashmiris also don’t take that rhetoric seriously. When Pakistan talks of a 5000-year-war or talks about the United Nations resolutions, then we know that Pakistan is not being serious. There is a world of difference between a four-point formula and UN resolutions. UN resolutions are dead and buried. Why talk about those things. When you talk about that, it is pure rhetoric. I don’t think that any Kashmiri believes in that that- the right to self-determination or plebiscite. If plebiscite could not be held all these years, where will you have plebiscite now?
 If plebiscite could be held in Scotland, South Sudan and East Timor, why cannot it be held in Kashmir?
Well, it won’t happen here. Let us be realistic. Yasin (Malik) once told me, “We want freedom.” I told him, if you could get freedom, I would have raised Azadi slogans with you. Be realistic, there can be an Azadi within the Indian union.  When Hurriyat started coming to Delhi, sometimes there would be a remark, “This thing is within the constitution.” They would say, “Why are you stating the obvious.  When we come and talk to Delhi, it has to be within the constitution. Can Delhi talk outside the constitution?” That is why (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee sahab said, “Insaniyat key Dairey ki baat kartey hain. Why are you getting bogged down in the constitution? We are human beings and let us talk as human beings.” Humanism is important.
 In a way you are saying that India isn’t as mature as United Kingdom. It does not have the heart.
There is a different history here altogether than Scotland. It is not the question of heart. It is a question of reality. What if a plebiscite did not happen up to 1957 or 1967 or before the 1965 war, do you think it will happen in 2015. Does anybody anywhere in the world talk about plebiscite in Kashmir? Does anybody anywhere in the world talk about UN resolutions? When militancy started in early 1990s in Kashmir, Americans used to call it a freedom struggle. But 9/11 woke them up. Now everybody is a terrorist. The world has changed. When Vajpayee and Musharaff started talking and when Manmohan Singh followed up on that, there was a realization. Musharraf realized two things that borders can’t be changed and India will never compromise on its sovereignty. He told the separatists that let’s not live in a fool’s paradise. This is a reality. Within that, there is so much scope for engaging. Ask the Mirwaiz if he is comfortable with that or not. He would be very comfortable. If Shabir is honest to himself, he would be very comfortable. Yasin should be very comfortable. Geelani sahab has a different take. He is an old man. He doesn’t want to compromise and he thinks it is a compromise. He doesn’t see reality when it is staring at his face.
 You were the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief and have been in the Intelligence Bureau (IB). As an intelligence officer, do you think creating a group of renegades was a mistake as they unleashed a reign of terror on people and became notorious and dreadful?
I spent my life in the IB and somehow became the RAW chief.  I don’t know who was responsible for their creation. I know it was created. I know it also helped the security forces (troops, paramilitary forces and Police) at that point of time. If they got out of hand and did wrong things that should not have been condoned either.
 What do you think of Village Defense Committees (VDCs)? You have created VDCs in Muslim-majority areas. You have given arms to Hindus and they are pushing Muslims to the wall.
Let us not get into that. VDC is a very old story. Let us forget that. That part of militancy is over.
 What do you think of the current stalemate between New Delhi and Islamabad?
I am a great believer in engagement. We should never stop engaging. Things come out of dialogue. If they are not engaging now, I am sure they will. Modi is not Vajpayee and Vajpayee was not Modi. Vajpayee took a bus to Lahore. Modi ji thinks what will come out of taking a bus to Lahore. He wants to know the outcome before taking that decision.

India does not have good relations with Pakistan or with China or with any other neigbour other than Bhutan. What does it say of India?
I agree. We must have good relations with all our neighbours. Pakistan is a key neighbour, a very important neighbour for us. Vajpayee said this in Lahore during his Pakistan visit. He said, “We can change our friends, but we cannot change our neigbours.” This is a reality. You have to live with it. If India and Pakistan were together, so much could happen together.
 India is offending China. How do you see India being in the center of two nuclear powers, Pakistan and China?
We should not look at China or Pakistan as an enemy. Yes, there are times when we have that kind of situation or position.
 There are issues like settlement of West Pakistan refugees and settlement of Kashmiri Pandit in separate townships. There is a general perception here that New Delhi is working to carry out genocide of Kashmiri Muslims.
Nobody is planning any genocide. Kashmir has a history of living together. It is unfortunate that in 1990 Kashmiri Pandits had to leave. At that time, they were subjected to excesses. Some of them were killed. They fled as there was a threat and panic. Even today, Kashmiri Pandits do not feel so comfortable coming back. On the Kashmir side, every Kashmiri leader from Geelani sahab downward have said, “They are our brethren and are welcome to come back and should come back.”
 Why are they asked to live in satellite townships? Doesn’t it give an impression that New Delhi plans to settle them on the pattern of Israel?
This should happen in a more natural and organic way rather than imposing something on somebody which would not happen. I don’t think that we need a particular township. The government can have a hundred houses in Ram Munshi Bagh or Jawahar Nagar, which are comfortable areas, and Kashmiri Pandits can come.
 What about the settlement of West Pakistan refugees? There are refugees in entire India. When nobody talks about settling those refugees in any state of India, why Jammu Kashmir?
Mufti sahab and Nirmal Singh should sort it out. The chief minister and the deputy chief minister represent the two parties of the coalition. I am sure they can sort it.
 How do you see India’s role in Baluchistan? On the one hand, you accuse Islamabad of indulging in Kashmir and on the other hand, New Delhi is investing too much in Baluchistan.
I think it is overplayed. This is a debate we have had with Pakistanis. This issue was also brought up by (former) Prime Minister (of Pakistan), Yousuf Raza Gilani at Sharm el-Sheikh with (former Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh and he said, “There is no such thing but because you are insisting, we will look into it.”
 Just some days back, Chief of the Army Staff of Pakistan, Raheel Sharif accused RAW of fiddling in Pakistan. How do you react to it?
This whole thing is blown out of proportion. Pakistan has been saying for a long time that India has 12 consulates in Afghanistan, which is a bunk up. Where are our 12 consulates in Afghanistan? I think, may be, we have three. Now another bogey of Karachi is being raised through MQM. If they have a problem, my advice to the ISI chief regarding MQM and regarding Karachi, for which RAW is being blamed, is why he doesn’t talk to the MI6 chief. Altaf Hussain lives in London and is the guest of the British. So he should talk to the MI6 and if he is misbehaving, then they should ask MI6 to behave. I think somebody living in London cannot be more in our control than in the control of the British.  
 Not many Muslims get to be the officers in the intelligence agencies, the Indian Army, Indian Air Force or the Indian Navy in India. In the 10,000 men strong RAW there are not many Muslims. Why?
Asif Ibrahim, who recently retired as the chief of the IB, became the chief of the organization superseding three people senior to him. The government went out of its way to accommodate a Muslim officer. It is not as if Muslims are being discriminated against. I think the agencies need Muslim officers. There is no doubt about that. There are less Muslims officers in RAW though. That is our weakness. We should have more. There are many Muslims in IB. I myself recruited them. Indian Army is open to recruitments. I don’t think they discriminate against Muslims. Two to three Corps Commanders here have been Muslims. The name of one of them, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain is being mentioned as a possible Governor here.
 Yours was also.
Mine you can write off.
 What went wrong? Why didn’t you get the nod?
What time are you referring to? I have heard this for so many years that I got tired hearing about it. When I heard it first, I said it will not happen.
 You have a deep insight into Kashmir.
I love Kashmir. This is the reason why I come here every year. Kashmir has got into my blood stream.
 Is there anything else you want to say?
I hope for the sake of Kashmir and Jammu that this coalition lasts, it survives. It must. The feeling that is around that it may not last is unfortunate. Mufti sahab is not doing anything wrong. He must be supported. He should not be pushed into the corner. He must not be driven against the wall. He is being much more accommodative. He is being much more reasonable than in the past. It is a good opportunity for Kashmir and Jammu to come closer. But if you push him beyond the point, much as the old man wants to serve for six years, he might throw in the towel and that would be unfortunate.
WHO IS A S DULAT?
Amarjit Singh Dulat joined Indian Police Services (Rajasthan cadre) in 1965. Four years later, he joined Ministry of Home Affairs’ Intelligence Bureau where he went on to serve as special director. Dulat also served as the chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
He remained the First Secretary in the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu between 1976 and 1980. Dulat was head of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) between 1999 and 2000. He superannuated after rendering 30 years of service to the police and intelligence agencies.
However, Dulat was re-employed as Advisor on Kashmir in the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s office from January 2001 to May 2004.
He is currently a member of National Security Advisory Board.
Dulat is regarded as one of India’s leading experts on Kashmir. He has been a Director of Ballarpur Industries Limited since October 17, 2006. Dulat serves as an Independent Director of BILT Paper PLC. He serves as a Director of Onicra Credit Rating Agency of India Limited. Dulat holds a Masters in History from Punjab University, Chandigarh.