November 2000 News

Hizb loaded with ISI funds

1 November 2000
The Times of India
Dinesh Kumar

New Delhi: The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, with which the Centre had briefly engaged in abortive peace talks, is the single-largest recipient among the Kashmiri militant groups of funds from Pakistan''s Inter-Services Intelligence, according to the Army. An analysis of the financial transactions during 1999 has revealed that the Hizb alone received Rs 18.5 crore. The Army report, which provides a detailed analysis of Pakistan''s proxy war in Kashmir, estimates that the ISI''s annual revenue, generated through the drugs and narcotics trade, is a staggering $2.5 billion (approximately Rs 10,750 crore). Of this, between five to 10 per cent is spent on aiding and abetting insurgency and terrorism in Kashmir, the report says. The Hizb, which was formed as a pro-Pakistan group after the ISI failed to win over the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in the early years of insurgency, is the largest and the most influential outfit in Kashmir with about 4,500 trained cadre in Pakistan, including 1,000 hardcore militants in Kashmir. While the Hizb spends substantial amounts on equipment and the upkeep of its cadre, it also spends on ''awards'' to its men for killing security personnel in the state. These ''awards'' are pegged at Rs 50,000 for killing a Colonel, Rs 20,000 for a Major and Rs 10,000 for a jawan. The Army has lost over 2,000 soldiers and has many more injured since insurgency began on a large-scale in end-1989. The Hizb cash awards to its cadres are in addition to the regular monthlyincome paid to them. While the Hizb''s rank and file are paid a monthly ''salary'' of Rs 3,000, Hizb ''company commanders'' are paid between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000, ''battalion commanders'' Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000, and ''district commanders'' Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000. In contrast, foreign militants, mostly from Pakistan and Afghanistan, receive a lumpsum of Rs 4 lakh - Rs 2 lakh before infiltrating into India and another Rs 2 lakh on their return. Between 1991 and May this year, 1,583 foreign militants died in encounters. Of them about 672 remain unidentified. Mercenaries from Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chechnya, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey, and Yemen have so far had only token involvement in Kashmir. In the Army''s assessment, the inflow of funding has increased after Gen. Pervez Musharraf''s bloodless coup in October last year. Gen. Musharraf has publicly pledged Rs 50 crore for ex-gratia payment to families of terrorists killed in J&K and a further Rs 85 crore for rehabilitation of Kashmiris who claim to have migrated to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). While 14 militant organiations, including the Hizb, operate in J&K under the Pakistan-based United Jehad Council, six recently-formed groups in Pakistan include the K-2 Regiment, Al-Qaida, Peer Panchal Suran Regiment, Black Commando, Mujahidin-e-Kashmir and Sipah-e-Sahaba. The presence of the Al-Qaida, which is directly headed by Osama Bin Laden, is, however, yet to be confirmed in Kashmir.


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