Even Hajj has not changed Yasin Malik
Dr Shabir Choudhry 30 March 2012
Yasin Malik had a turbulent childhood. He developed this image of a young angry man; and was very proud of it. He always looked for a change and better life. He moved on from one step to the other; and did not hesitate to accept new challenges. Many of his colleagues believe he used friends and others around him as a stepping stone to move up the social and political ladder.
I am not privy to his childhood life, as I only met him in November 2000; however, his friends and former childhood colleagues claim that he had no set ideology or political philosophy. His only motive was to move on and ‘make hay while the sun shines’.
Before being recruited as a militant to wage a militant war against India occupation in Kashmir Valley, Yasin Malik was a poling agent of a candidate of Muslim United Front and Hizb Ul Mujahideen Commander and Chairman of Mutahida Jihad Council (alliance of militant groups fighting war against India and that is based in Pakistan and controlled by Pakistani secret agencies).
General elections in 1987 were rigged and Yasin Malik’s leader (a man belonging to Jamat e Islami) also lost elections; and that provided the spark, as people thought they could not bring about change peacefully. Yasin Malik always looked for a change. Strategic experts in the Inter Service Intelligence were closely monitoring the situation in Kashmir. They knew they lost in 1965 because they did not do their home work properly and people of the Kashmir Valley were not taken in to confidence.
This time situation was ripe and people of the Kashmir Valley were angry with India and wanted a change. The ISI was not going to sit idle and waste this opportunity. Services of top leaders of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front were hired to recruit potential militants from the Valley to be trained and indoctrinated. Yasin Mailk, a man looking for a constant change was in the first batch to be ‘honoured’ with this status of being ISI trained militants.
During ISI training, Yasin Malik and his colleagues must have been told that you can make history and become heroes of the nation, if they start this struggle to liberate Kashmir; and people will regard you as Mohammed Bin Qasim, a legendary Muslim commander who invaded parts of India in 7th Century. With dreams of becoming a national ‘hero’ and Mohammed Bi Qasim of 20th Century, Yasin Malik and his colleagues, after graduating from the ISI military training camp crossed the Line of Control to wage a war against Indian occupation.
The ISI training, their indoctrination, their arms and money boosted his moral and he bravely and dutifully implemented the plan known as “Operation Topac” in letter and spirit; and, at times, risked his life and lives of others. No one question his bravery, ability to fight and manipulate things to advance his agenda. Question, however is, the agenda he is espousing, is it a Kashmiri agenda? Has that agenda brought about positive changes to lives of ordinary people? Has that agenda improved quality of life of ordinary people? Above all, are we people of Jammu and Kashmir part of this agenda; or are we only victims of that agenda? I leave that question to thinking people of Jammu and Kashmir to answer, as it is they who have been through hell since 1989.
However, life of our ‘hero’ ISI trained militant, changed once again. He was arrested by the Indian troops and brutally manhandled. He suffered in prison cells; but he knew prison life was not for him, as the man believed in moving forward, make compromises and accept new challenges. He agreed to under go further training. The ISI trained him in the art of militancy; and he and his colleagues and other militants brought chaos in the Valley of Kashmir that resulted in death and destruction and human rights abuses.
The Indian intelligence wanted to use the same weapon – people like Kuka Parey and Yasin Malik to fight back Pakistani sponsored militancy. Kuka Parey was used to fight back militancy; but since Yasin Malik had other skills to offer, so he was launched on the political front. He was accused of many murders, including killings of Indian air force personnel. If the Indians wanted they could have nailed him down, and sentence him; but they decided to use him as their tool; and trained him in art of politics and diplomacy.
After years of training under watchful eyes of Indian experts, he was released – it must be noted that still many true militants who did not make deal are still suffering in jails. They told him that militancy has no role in the Kashmiri politics; and that he should adopt Gandhi style politics – hunger strikes, peaceful tasks like signature campaign, and candle light walks up and down the Valley which would help India to send this message to the world community that India only kills people with guns. Yasin Malik and his hundreds of colleagues walked from village to village in various parts of the Valley of Kashmir and no harm was done to them. They assured him that once peace returned to Jammu and Kashmir, he would, apart from other rewards will also get political rewards.
Yasin Malik, according to the agreement promoted a peaceful struggle. Even though some critics asked him where is that gun, which you proudly introduced in Kashmir; and that has resulted in death of a generation and human rights abuses, he continued with Gandhi style activities and thought he would be remembered as a Gandhi of Kashmir.
When he declared a cease fire with India and positioned himself on Gandhian approach to politics, Amanullah Khan and ISI did not appreciate that, as it was done without consulting Amanullah Khan who was, after all, the Chairman of the party. Amanullah Khan, as the Chairman of JKLF accused Yasin Malik for working for India and expelled him from the JKLF. Yasin Malik’s colleagues (Revolutionary Command Council), in retaliation expelled Amanullah Khan and accused him for working for the ISI.
Last year both Amanullah Khan and Yasin Malik decided to forge a unity and work together. Both declared this unity without consulting their respective Central Committees; and Amanullah Khan did not consult Chairman of his party Sardar Saghir Khan. Rumour has it that ISI handlers of both JKLF Groups wanted them to declare this immediately to prevent any possible opposition from the members who hitherto had been calling each other ‘agents’ and ‘traitors’.
People of Jammu and Kashmir have right to seek this clarification: Amanullah Khan declared Yasin Malik for working for India and in return Amanullah Khan was accused for working for the ISI, please tell the confused nation, who is working for who now? Do you work for the same employer? Or does Yasin Malik have more than one employer?
Furthermore, Memogate had no links with Kashmiri politics. Mansoor Ijaz claimed that Yasin Malik met RAW Deputy Chief; and that time Yasin Malik was on Hajj pilgrimage. He issued a statement condemning that claim and denied ever meeting RAW Deputy Chief. To people of Jammu Kashmir, whether the claim was true or not, it was end of the matter; and Yasin Malik did not express his desire to take any further. Then question arises why all of sudden Yasin Malik decided to become part of the Memogate two weeks ago.
The reason is politics of Pakistan and appointment of new ISI Chief in Pakistan. Politics of Pakistan related to the Memogate demanded that Yasin Malik should be called to refute Mansoor Ijaz’s claim and prove that he is not trustworthy. They hoped the task would boost Yasin Malik’s declining fame, as it would give a message to people of Jammu and Kashmir that Yasin Malik has contacts in international circles; and what the ISI, IB and MI of Pakistan don’t know and Rehman Malik (Home Minister of Pakistan) does not know, Yasin Malik knows it.
Yasin Malik had added attraction: an opportunity to meet the new ISI Chief, and negotiate new terms and ask for more ‘fundus’ – funds. It is believed that because of inflation and growing monetary demands he wanted them to ‘do more’ for him. It is believed that the ISI, in return asked him to ‘do more’ for them; and sever his contacts with the Indians. The demand also included to teach me (Dr Shabir Choudhry) a lesson by defaming me through his interview and with help of his touts and followers.
When Muslims go for Hajj, it is expected that on return they will be better Muslims and better human beings. I expected same for Yasin Malik. I phoned him about two months ago and congratulated him for performing Hajj. He thanked me for this. In a friendly way I said, ‘I hope after Hajj you will become a better person and that you will abandon some of your past activities’. Yasin Malik did not say anything to this but laughed. I did not understand reason for this laugh.
Yasin Malik appeared before the Memogate Commission in Islamabad. Years of training enhanced his natural skills, and he, on oath, lied with confidence. Now I understand why he laughed, he meant he would change the myth associated with Hajj and continue with what he did before the Hajj. The Hajj has not changed him; and now that he is a father of a beautiful girl, let us hope that he will prove to be a good father and good husband. I pray his daughter, Razia Sultana, becomes a good daughter, a decent human being and a source of pride and luck to the family.
Writer is a Chairman of Diplomatic Committee of KNP and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: email@example.com