Sunday, 25 March 2012

Yasin Malik’s memo entry is a dangerous gambit, Murtaza Ali Shah

Yasin Malik’s memo entry is a dangerous gambit

Murtaza Ali Shah
Sunday, March 25, 2012

LONDON: As Yasin Malik, the leader of his own faction of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), looks set to attempt to depose before the Supreme Court’s judicial commission probing the Memogate scandal, new details have come to light of the volatile meeting on Kashmir in which both Malik and Mansoor Ijaz, the central character of the Memogate scandal, took part.
During cross-examination, Zahid Bokhari confronted Ijaz with an article in which Yasin Malik claimed he had never met with the RAW head.

Ijaz said Malik was lying and insisted that Malik had been a key participant in a late November 2000 meeting at a New Delhi hotel that included Malik, Chander Sahay, then deputy director of RAW who went on to head India’s premier spy outfit from 2003 until 2006, and Ijaz, who arranged that meeting.

More than a decade after that fateful meeting, the duo are now engaged in a duel involving the reputation and credibility of the both. Malik denies meeting Sahay but Mansoor Ijaz is adamant that he arranged the meeting between the two and has the evidence.

Malik and Ijaz first met at the sidelines of a conference in late 2000 that had been arranged by the International Institute for Peace Initiatives in collaboration with the Jinnah Institute, headed by the Karan Sohny and mainly attended by Kashmiris from Indian occupied Kashmir and certain members of the Diaspora Kashmiris, including Pakistani and Indian speakers.

For that meeting, Mansoor Ijaz had travelled on “out of passport visas” granted to him by the Indian government for travel into and out of India and Indian-held Kashmir from December 1999 until November 2000.

Some of the key people in that meeting other than Mansoor Ijaz and Yasin Malik were, amongst others, Amitab Matto, Kashmir Bar Association President Nazir Randa, Yousaf Targami, Dr Nazir Gilani, Dr Shabir Chaudhry, Dr Nazir Nzish, Naeem Khan, Dr Siraj Shah, and Mumtaz Khan.

Dr Nazir Gilani told The News that it was Kashmiri leader Shabir Shah who was originally billed to headline the event but at the last moment Yasin Malik was brought in. Gilani said he and others were woken up at 3 a.m. for an emergency meeting by the organisers about the meeting but refused to give names of who had woken him up and for what purpose.

Toronto based Sardar Mumtaz Khan recalled in a conversation with this correspondent that Mansoor Ijaz was shouted upon by a group of hawkish

Kashmiri activists who were angered at his criticism of the armed militant struggle and his belief that Azad Kashmir was being increasingly infiltrated by Arab influence and money, and that there was a need to redress the jihadist influence.

Khan claims that he stood between Ijaz and those wanting to attack him physically.

Yasin Malik opposed this view of Mansoor Ijaz but the two met on the sidelines of the meeting and were seen together more than once, according to Kashmiri witnesses, including a 30 minutes long meeting.

Ijaz claims that it was after the first meeting that led to a series of several other meetings and conversations with Malik by telephone that enabled him to arrange the meeting with Chander Sahay.

Ijaz says that he made it clear to Malik who he would be meeting with, and that Malik laid down strict conditions for the meeting given the sensitivities involved. Ijaz refuses to discuss what was discussed during that alleged meeting between but it’s believed the participants discussed ceasefire in Kashmir.

Sahay, who has now retired from the service, has not denied holding meeting with Malik on Ijaz’s persuasion, describing being in that conference as being “at the right place at the right time”.

He told the Gulf News in a June 2005 interview that he “trusted” Ijaz’s “judgment” and described their first meeting as a “turning point” for efforts to make peace in violence-torn Indian occupied Kashmir.

But the Kashmiri leader’s entry into the fray is interesting for many reasons and it’s a dangerous gambit.

It will provide many scandalous new details as what happened around that conference and the alleged meeting with the RAW boss.

Malik’s denial provides the defence opportunity to paint a RAW connection around Mansoor Ijaz’s neck - an Indian agent working to destabilise Pakistan.

But if Mansoor Ijaz’s cross-examination before the commission is anything to go by then it is certain that he will produce evidence - and yet unknown details - of Malik’s alleged meeting with the RAW chief. It is believed that Mansoor Ijaz has kept full record of his citizen diplomacy of those years.

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