Kashmiri Leader Backs Contention That Rasheed Helped Militants
24 July 2005
New Delhi: Weeks after JKLF chief Yasin Malik alleged that a Pakistani politician who is now a Minister had helped Kashmiri militants several years ago, top Kashmiri leader Amanullah Khan has supported the contention and also claimed that ISI had trained militants under an 'agreement' with the Kashmiri outfit. Maintaining that the deal was struck in 1987 following an understanding with ISI officials that the 'ideological indoctrination' of recruits would be an 'internal matter' of JKLF, Khan said in the second volume of his autobiography that he went ahead with the pact with the Pakistani intelligence agency as he was told that then President Zia ul Haq was backing it. Pakistani magazine 'The Herald' quoted the autobiography as saying that when this deal fell through in early 1990s, JKLF leaders contacted Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, now Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister, who provided boarding and lodging for the Kashmiri militants. The book, titled 'The Unending Struggle', said 'it was a gentlemen's agreement, a verbal agreement' between him and then ISI chief Gen Akhtar Abdur Rehman. 'Once the deal had been struck, the JKLF started bringing across young men' from Jammu and Kashmir to Pak-occupied Kashmir in 1988, Khan said, while naming 'eight boys' of the first batch. 'They were provided with weapons and imparted training by the ISI. Once trained, the boys were sent back to (J and K) with instructions not to take any initiative on their own and instead wait for a green signal from JKLF leaders based in PoK,' the magazine said quoting the book. But despite the 'success of the plan' which included the bombing of the Amar Singh Club and central post office in Srinagar in July 1988, 'the marriage' between ISI and JKLF did not last long, the magazine said. According to Khan, ISI and JKLF parted ways in early 1990s when the former insisted on having 'an ISI official attending JKLF organisational meetings in the capacity of an observer'. The JKLF chief wrote that when his organisation was 'left with no choice, its leaders contacted Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, a Pakistani politician of Kashmiri origin who is currently the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting. 'Sheikh Rasheed arranged for the lodging and boarding of JKLF militants,' Khan was quoted as having written in his autobiography. 'The Herald' said 'the JKLF story, as told by Khan, reveals the deceptive role of the ISI in creating and demolishing organisations in accordance with its own exigencies'.