Sunday, 21 August 2011

Unity of JKLF groups and ISI

Unity of JKLF groups and ISI
Dr Shabir Choudhry 21 August 2011

It is believed that ISI, secret agency of Pakistan has fingers in many pies. It is regarded as very effective secret agency; but at times, it is credited or discredited with things that might not be their making. Generally all the wrong things are associated with them because of their reputation, especially when it comes to Kashmir dispute, India, Afghanistan and terrorism.

Having said that, it is true that the agency has messed up many things, including the Kashmir dispute; but at times, when there is a split in some Kashmiri party due to personality clash, division of funds, power, strategy, ideology or petty personal likes and dislikes people accuse their opponents for being ISI agents and accuse ISI for creating this split.

In the past ISI was accused for creating divisions and splitting parties, now they are ‘credited’ with forging a unity between two JKLF groups, namely Amanullah Khan Group and Yasin Malik Group. I have spoken to dozens of people on this topic, and dozens of people have asked me to comment on this new development.

Many people think it is a conspiracy of the ISI to give another twist to the complex dispute of Jammu and Kashmir; or present a new phase of the struggle by face - lifting it and by making it more acceptable to the international community. Rationale for this, according to these critics is that Ali Gilani type politics is only good to create chaos, and to communalise the society and divide it in name of religion; but it cannot provide any solution and cannot be acceptable to the leaders of the international community who might have some say in the final outcome of the Kashmir dispute.

According to these critics, first it was proxy militancy that was exposed; now it was revealed that ‘diplomacy’ was also run and controlled by able officers of the ISI. Dr Fai’s arrest in America has exposed many things and, in view of many, he has become redundant for them. Fate of other ISI ‘diplomats’ and ‘agents’ in London and Brussels is not known; but they are also fully exposed before the people that they were promoting and defending interests of Pakistan and not that of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

These critics think, in view of this changed scenario at the international level, and rather peace and normalcy in the Valley, able officers of the ISI felt that they need to do something to ‘support’ the struggle and ‘liberate’ Kashmir. One critic Dr Sajid, who is also a senior member of JKLF, expresses his apprehension by asking:

Q 1- ‘When this division happened was there any solid reason for that?
Q-2 Is that reason doesn’t exist any more?
Q-3 Is there any constitution with JKLF to solve such a situation?
Q-4 Does any constitution applies to Ammanullah Khan or being the founder of JKLF he has the sole discretion of making all sorts of decisions?
Q-5 Do the Chairman, Secretary General and Central Committee mean any thing for Ammanullah Khan?’
‘I am simply shocked by knowing that none of the above questions were addressed at all by Ammanullah Khan, who always maintained that Mr Yasin Malik is a traitor of JKLF, and told every one that Mr Malik made a deal with Indian Government to get himself out from jail, hence backstabbed the movement and now he is double agent and on ISI payroll. I remember, I spoke to Ammanullah Khan just couple of months ago, and in his opinion, Mr Yasin Malik was still working on someone’s agenda. I have no idea how things have changed so dramatically, because Yasin Malik did nothing different from what he was doing in the past.’

‘The most painful aspect of this drama is that Ammanullah Khan kept every body in dark till very last moment, including Chairman Sardar Saghir Khan, Secretary General and almost entire Central Committee. So this is not merger of JKLF factions but merger of Ammanullah Khan and Yasin Malik, probably on the directions of some invisible forces.’

Another political activist Sardar Ishaq Sharif said: ‘This is conspiracy against the JKLF, to destroy completely whatever are remaining worker in world, especially on Azad Kashmir side.’

According to the press release issued: “Following an in-depth consultation the top leadership of the segregated JKLF factions has finally agreed in principle to work together to take the ongoing peaceful democratic movement of Kashmiris to its logical end”. It should be noted that there are about five JKLF groups and if unity was desired and they were sincere in this then why did they not invite other groups?

One member of Rauf Kashmiri Group of JKLF said: This is ISI game plan. Not long ago they called each other agent of agencies. If they sincerely wanted to have unity in the JKLF then they should have invited all JKLF groups and not Heads of those groups which work with the ISI. We know Amanullah Khan works for ISI; and Yasin Malik works for agencies of both India and Pakistan.’

He further said, ‘Amanullah Khan, while commenting on the split of the JKLF associated with Yasin Malik, used to tell us that “my one arm was seriously affected with cancer and there was no cure for it, so I cut it off to save the JKLF”, people have right to ask what has he done to stitch back that cancer affected arm.’

Another senior JKLF leader, associated with Yasin Malik disagreed with this conspiracy theory and thinks ISI does not need to do anything as Kashmiris are so divided and involved in petty issues that no agency needs to do anything. He said:

I know mentality and tactics of Amanullah Khan very well. Amanullah Khan knows how to make head lines and stay in news, even at this age (80 years old) without doing anything positive. Yasin Malik was getting a lot of media attention in Pakistan, especially after arrest of Dr GN Fai. Amanullah Khan could not digest all that and wanted to show all concerned that he was the man who mattered and who was still in charge of the JKLF and the independent movement.

He further said: in his considered opinion nothing will come out of these unity talks, as there is no sincerity. Amanullah Khan wanted to assert himself and get some publicity for him and over shadow Yasin Malik; and he has done that, and show is over. Outcome of these unity talks will be same as the last time when they talked for some months and could not agree on power sharing.

As noted above, Amanullah Khan has taken this decision without taking any one in confidence in his JKLF Group. He is famous for taking big and disastrous decisions on his own, and when things go wrong he claims that he did this in the ‘best interest of the JKLF’ and the ‘independence movement’; and if you are ‘loyal to the JKLF and the Movement then accept my decision’.

His big decisions, taken without consulting anyone, and which went far beyond his constitutional powers, apparently in the ‘best interest’ of the JKLF and the ‘Movement’ caused splits in the past. Those who disagreed with his this logic and refused to accept his unconstitutional and dictatorial decision were expelled from the party on one of the following charges – he was anti JKLF, anti Movement, working for ISI or working for Indian intelligence. There is a very long list of such people, which include this author, who were expelled under one of the above charges; whereas reality was that these people were sincere, talented and only disagreed with his unconstitutional decisions. Of course, they posed some threat to his leadership too.

Only future will tell if the present JKLF unity initiative will lead to some kind of merger between the two JKLF factions; or it will lead to another split in the JKLF Amanullah Khan Group. In my opinion the present JKLF Amanullah Group Central Committee, Secretary General and Chairman do not have guts to openly oppose Amanullah Khan’s decision as they know they will be expelled by him even at this age and it will weaken the party. However, they have ability and skills to throw a spanner and stall the merger process.

Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir

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