At least 10 militants, who had crossed over to Pakistan were involved in the recently suspended cross-LoC trade to provide funds to militants and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
These Jammu and Kashmir natives are either based in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in Pakistan or Muzaffarabad in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) and operate businesses ranging from almonds, dry dates, dry fruits to mangoes as part of the modus operandi to send money to “fuel unrest” in Jammu and Kashmir on behalf of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, they said.
“These 10 militants were using the the cross LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pak to fund militants and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir,” a senior security official said.
India last week indefinitely suspended cross-LoC trade at two points along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir following reports that it was being “misused” by elements from across the border to smuggle weapons, narcotics and fake currency.
The LoC trade across Chakan-Da-Bagh and Salamabad was intended as a confidence building measure for the population living in Jammu and Kashmir and across the Line of Control (LoC) in PaK.
Officials also gave details of the 10 militants and their businesses which were involved in the cross LoC trade.
Mehrajuddin Bhat, a resident of Tral, had gone to Pakistan to join militancy about a decade ago.
Presently staying in Rawalpindi, Bhat set up ‘Mehrajuddin Traders’ to get involved in the cross LoC trade. Mehrajuddin’s brother is also a registered LoC trader on the Indian side at the TradeFacilitation Centre (TFC) at Uri.
Nazir Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Pampore, had crossed over to Pakistan and joined militancy.
Presently staying in Islamabad, he runs business through his firms the ‘New Kashmir Traders’ and ‘New Kashmir Firm’.
Basharat Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Budgam, had crossed over to Pakistan years ago and had joined militancy. Presently staying in Rawalpindi, Bhat runs his business through the ‘Al Nasir Trading Company’.
Showkat Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Budgam, had crossed over to Pakistan and joined militancy. Presently staying in Rawalpindi, Showkat’s trading firm was ‘Taha Enterprises’.
Noor Mohammad, who hails from Budgam, had crossed over to Pakistan more than a decade ago and joined militancy.Presently staying in Rawalpindi, Noor runs business through his company ‘Al Noor’.
Khursheed, a resident of Srinagar, had crossed over to Pakistan and joined militancy about eight years ago. Now living in Islamabad, he operates business through M/s Khursheed and Sons.
Imtiyaz Ahmed, who was originally from Budgam, had crossed over to Pakistan about seven years ago. Now staying in Muzaffarabad and was involved in the cross LoC trade through ‘MIK Traders’ and ‘M/s Imtiyaz Traders’.
Amir, a resident of Pattan in Baramulla, had crossed over to Pakistan and joined the militancy. Presently living in Rawalpindi, Amir was an active LoC trader.
Azaz Rehmani, who hails from Baramulla, had crossed over to Pakistan and joined militancy. Presently staying in Muzaffarabad, Azaz has set up business entities in Muzaffarabad and Islamabad.
Shabbir Illahi, who was originally from Sopore, has been an active member of Hizbul Mujahideen. He was involved in the cross LoC trade through his firm ‘MN Trading Company’.
“The direct involvement of militants in the cross LoC trade and their contribution to fund militancy in Jammu and Kashmir was one of the reasons to suspend cross LoC trade,” another official said.
The government will revisit the issue of resuming the LoC trade after stricter measures and systems are put in place to address these issues.
New measures are expected to restore benefit of LoC trade to local population only, rather than allowing “militant organisations and unscrupulous traders” based far away from these trading points to siphon off benefits and fuel instability in the valley, the official said.