An investigation report prepared by the NIA on JKLF chief Yasin Malik alleges he was in touch with Pakistan’s ISI, had received funds from Islamabad to “foment trouble” in the Valley, and amassed properties worth more than Rs 15 crore.
The NIA, which is probing a case of terror funding against Kashmiri separatists, including Malik, claims some of these properties include government land.
Denying the allegations, Malik’s lawyer Raja Tufail called it an “exercise to malign him”. “They have tried to dig up every evidence and to stick various properties on him, but have failed. You visit his house and you will know. A man who NIA lists Malik ‘properties, ISI links’; lawyer slams bid to ‘malign’ him allegedly has so much money should have a decent 2BHK in Kashmir at least,” Tufail told The Sunday Express. The NIA filed a chargesheet against Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali and over a dozen others in relation to the terror funding case, accusing him of being a hawala operator who receives funds from Pakistan, including terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba. In its report, it claims to have found account books of Watali showing he had got funds from “the Pakistan High Commission, Hafiz Saeed etc”. “Further the seized documents show disbursement of money to various secessionist and separatist entities of Jammu and Kashmir. Yasin Malik is one such recipient of these terror funds,” the report alleges.
The NIA alleges Malik got Rs 15 lakh from Watali on April 7, 2015, and that some of the money was used to fuel the unrest in the Valley after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016.
Denying this, Tufail said, “In this whole transaction, Yasin Malik was just a witness. Watali gave money to someone and Malik was a witness. The transaction happened in the presence of a lawyer. Malik told this to the NIA.”
The NIA also alleges it has four witnesses who have given statements saying Malik and his associates raised funds from LoC trade. “Another protected witness states the role of Basheer Ahmed Bhat (the acting president of the JKLF) in raising funds through some LoC traders and distributing those funds among militants and stone-pelters,” the report says.
The agency has listed 12 properties across Srinagar as owned by Malik, including some in the name of his relatives, as well as said he has stake in a popular chain of schools in Kashmir and has illegally usurped government property. NIA sources said five other properties allegedly owned by Malik are also in key areas of Srinagar.
On one of the properties listed by the NIA, a mall at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, Tufail said, “As far as that mall is concerned, they have questioned almost the entire Srinagar and haven’t got a single document to support their narrative. He doesn’t have any property in Srinagar. His father was the ghar jamai of the place where he stays. There are 102 claimants to that property. He had land in Kokernag. He sold that land to give money to his sister’s son to run his business.”
Apart from Malik’s long association with the Kashmir separatist movement, the NIA report also talks about his wife Mushaal Hussain Mullick, the daughter of an affluent Islamabad-based family. “Of late, she has become closer to Pak ISI and (is) propagating anti-India narrative in Pakistan,” the report alleges.
Tufail said Malik and his wife have not been in touch for four years as she has been in Pakistan. “Yasin Malik gave up arms in 1992. He was asked to give peace a chance and he gave up arms… PM Vajpayee allowed him to go to the US for treatment. They have created false witnesses to implicate him,” he said.