ISI funds for J&K militants dry up
9 December 2001
The Times of India
M SALEEM PANDIT
SRINAGAR: Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan has stopped sending funds to the militants and also to the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Jaish- e-Mohammad and Laskhar-e-Toiba are no exception to the latest strategy. The measure was taken by and large to shake off the US pressure, said a senior ISI man. According to the latest reports, the foreign militants now have resorted to raise finances from people. They have even started collecting contributions from different mosques across the Valley, said the officer. The coffers of the APHC, a conglomerate of 23 separatist groups, have dried up to the extent that the leaders are unable to pay monthly pension to the families of the militants, killed fighting the security forces during last 12 years in the state.The second rank Hurriyat leaders, however, disagree with the excuse that the ISI has stopped sending money to the APHC succumbing to the US pressure. They told Times News Network that each Hurriyat executive was getting Rs 3 lakh every month from the different quarters in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. Admitting that funds were flown in freely to Hurriyat two months ago, the groupís former chairman said all Muslim countries were sending funds to the group to carry out the ''freedom struggle'' and also to sustain the destitute families of killed militants. The pensioners enrolled with the Raj Bagh office here were annoyed as they blamed the Hurriyat leaders for siphoning away the funds, received from Pakistan. A separatist leader of one of Hurriyat parties said on anonymity that all executive members were getting monthly salary of Rs one lakh each.The funds have further been squeezed due to the unearthing of the hawala links of some leading businessmen in the Valley. The gang of some top 10 businessmen was busted by the state police and one of the Hizbul Mujahideen militants was nabbed along with Rs 40 lakh, in Srinagar recently. Talking to reporters, the Inspector General of Police K Rajindra said the arrested businessmen were suspected of being involved in channeling funds to the militant outfits. He even suspected the businessmenís link with some in Delhi in clandestine dealings.He admitted, with fall of the Taliban, US pressure on Pakistan against militancy in Kashmir had at least resulted in the squeeze of the funds.