In a major development, Pakistani Police have arrested a relative of Kashmiri separatist leader Asiya Andrabi on terror charges in Islamabad.
While the arrests, on Saturday, were reported in Pakistani media, the connection was only made by the Dawn on Tuesday.
Andrabi’s nephew Mohammad Shoaib, the Dawn said, was detained when police raided a house on the outskirts of Islamabad. A huge cache of ammunition and four remote-controlled spy planes were seized during the raid.
Another man, also from J&K, escaped, and is said to be one Syed Irtiyaz Nabi Gilani. This is the first time a relative of a senior separatist has been arrested in Pakistan. Andrabi’s all-women organisation is a part of hardline Hurriyat and believes in imposition of Islamic law in Kashmir.
According to the newspaper, the link was exposed when Indian intelligence intercepted Hurriyat leaders’ calls after the raid. Andrabi told HT she didn’t want to comment on the arrest, but added the two were “innocent”. “Shoaib is a minor who lives in Saudi Arabia and had come to Pakistan for a computer course 4 days back. Gilani is a Pakistani national,” she said.
The newspaper, however, said Gilani was in Pakistan over the past few months and had been moving around. On how the arrest would affect her, Andrabi said her “politics is not subservient to what Pakistan thinks. I believe in what I do”. J&K CM Omar Abdullah said the arrests were a result of Pakistan’s policy of breeding terrorists.