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In the name of Kashmir mullahs minting money - The Observer

Press Trust of India ()
2 December 1996

Title : In the name of Kashmir mullahs minting money
Author : Press Trust of India
Publication : The Observer
Date : December 2, 1996

Huge amount of funds raised by various Pakistani organi-
sations for the so-called Kashmir Jehad Fund have alleg-
edly been siphoned off for personal use, Pakistani media
reports here said.

The Pakistani Federal Investigative Agency is probing
part of the funds allegedly being operated by the former
Pakistan high commissioner here, Pakistani weekly The
Nation said.

Former envoy Wajid Shamsul Hasan dismissed by the new
caretaker government, "is being grilled by the FIA in
Karachi for allegedly embezzling over =1C800,000 from the
high commission accounts here," it said. Several promi-
nent Pak-occupied Kashmir leaders have charged that huge
sums raised in the US, UK, Gulf and Pakistan had been
embezzled, the reports said.

Kashmir International Front chairman Afzal Tahir alleged
that of a staggering sum of =1C1 million raised in UK for
Kashmir over the past two years, not even a single penny
had been sent to Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Front leader
Hashim Quereshi charged about =1C15,000 had been raised in
UK and Europe for non-existent projects in Kashmir adding
a major part of the funds has lined the pockets of VIPs
in Pakistan and PoK.

The Nation in its latest issue published photocopies of
cheques issued by the high commission to personal ac-
counts of the former high commissioner totalling over
=1C600,000 which have not been accounted for. FIA was
"eager to obtain information from Hasan about the Surrey
mansion and other property allegedly brought by Benazir
and Asif Zardari, Kashmir Jehad fund and purchase of some
buildings by the Pakistan High Commission here," it said.

Tahir said: "Most of the money was collected from mosques
and rallies by different Kashmir associations like Teh-
reek-I-Kashmir, JKLF and others and reportedly handed
over to the former high commissioner and some transfered
to Jamaat-I-Islami accounts in Pakistan. "During Hazrat-
bal mosque and Charar-I-Sharif crisis, Pak papers here
ran appeals for funds for what they called 'sufferers of
these tragedies', he said.

A year back an appeal by Qureshi. now in Amesterdam,
through the same paper here for contributions to the
"Maqbool Bhat Welfare Trust' for victims of violence in
Kashmir, was vehemently opposed by some Pak factions.
Quereshi, who hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Lahore
in 1971, had called for payments directly to a Srinagar
account so that it could be used to provide relief to
violence victims.

Tahir said several Pak organisations had protested
against the move saying, "how can we allow transfer of
money to our enemies?"

Quereshi when contacted said: "It is not only in UK,

millions have also been collected in the name of Kashmir
in the US, Saudi Arabia, Gulf and Pakistan." The JKDLP
leader said last year papers here carried appeals for
1,500 victims of Charar-I-Sharif claiming it was to fund
sewing schools in Srinagar, Kupwara, Doda and Muzzaffara-
bad in PoK, blood banks in Rajouri and Kupwara and a
dispensary at Tatrikot.

"Muslims in UK and Europe donated over 15,000 and when I
contacted an eminent Kashmiri journalist in Srinagar, I
came to know there were no such projects," Qureshi said.

"Till now there is no authentic information from any part
of Kashmir, whether anyone has distributed even 10 per
cent of the huge amount among the victims of oppressed
people of Kashmir," Quereshi said. "It is tragic that a
prominent London-based PoK paper dated July 16, 1995,
carried a picture with the caption reading an organisa-
tion "muslim hand in Britain" had sent the first relief
consignment to the Charar-I-Sharif victims. That was a
picture of relief being distributed in PoK," the JKDLP
leader said.

"From these donations, Amanullah Khan of JKLF purchased
bungalows in Muzzaffarabad, in Karachi and Islamabad.
Their children are studying in public schools, while the
youth of Kashmir has been kept in the camps in the name
of jehad," Qureshi alleged.

Former president of PoK, Sardar Sikander Hayat Khan, in a
Pakistani newspaper recently alleged that former PoK
president Sardar Qayyum Khan had withdrawn over Rs
(Pakistani) 24 crore from the Kashmir Fund to purchase
two houses in Britain and a petrol pump in Jeddah.
Another Pak newspaper Awam published here reported that
when the new PoK government led by Barrister Sultan
Mehood had taken over they had been shocked to find that
"out of total of Rs 69 crore collected for the Kashmir
Jehad fund, only Rs 6 crore were left."

While fund raising in the name of Kashmir Jehad is common
knowledge among people of PoK settled here, The Nation's
report was the first public indication of operation of
such funds in foreign countries. Last year, when two
important All India Hurriyat Conference leaders Maulvi
Omar farooq and Maulvi Abbas Ansari visited UK they star-
tled a public rally In their honour in Birmingham by
saying, "while people in Kashmir were suffering, Muslims
outside had not contributed to their relief."

"When people started raising their eyebrows and question-
ing organisations like Tehreek-I-Kashmir, involved in
huge collection drives, the organisation swung into
action to whitewash the issue and put a lid on It," Tahir
said.

According to Pakistani sources here a major source of
corruption in Pakistan lies in collection of huge funds,
usually unaccounted for, to run covert operations in
Afghanistan and Kashmir. "Public collection of funds is
only the tip of iceberg. Major part of the funds come
from agencies running these operations and their the
outlets throughout the world," they said.


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