Pak high commission officials were recruiting Kashmiri youth for terror: Official
Reports from intelligence agencies show that 399 young men from Jammu and Kashmir had been issued visas by the Pakistan high commission since January 2017, and the current whereabouts of 218 of them are unknown.Updated: Jun 25, 2020 22:40 IST
Sustained efforts by officials of the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi to allegedly recruit young men from Kashmir for terrorist training was one of the factors behind India’s decision to halve the strength of the mission, people familiar with developments said on Thursday.
Reports from intelligence agencies show that 399 young men from Jammu and Kashmir had been issued visas by the Pakistan high commission since January 2017, and the current whereabouts of 218 of them are unknown, the people said on condition of anonymity.
India asked Pakistan on June 23 to reduce the strength of its mission in New Delhi by 50% in a week, saying the actions of Pakistani officials were part of a “larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism”.
Pakistan rejected and condemned what it said were “baseless Indian allegations” and informed New Delhi of its decision to reduce the Indian high commission’s strength within seven days as a reciprocal measure.
The people cited above said intelligence reports had shown that Pakistan has been targeting young men from Kashmir for terrorist training, and equipping and arming them to carry out attacks similar to the one in Pulwama in February 2019.
“The officials of the Pakistan high commission were involved in these efforts to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir. Such attacks are used by Pakistan to project internationally as the work of local resistance fighters,” said a person.
Citing one specific instance, the people said five heavily armed terrorists of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were tracked and killed by security forces on April 5 after they infiltrated into Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir from Dudhnial in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on the night of March 31-April 1.
Three of the five terrorists were identified as Adil Hussain Mir, Umar Nazir Khan and Sajjad Ahmed Hurrah, all residents of Jammu and Kashmir who had travelled to Pakistan in April 2018 on visas issued by the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi, the people said.
Indian security agencies have uncovered other instances of Pakistani officials in New Delhi being allegedly linked to terror activities. While investigating the case of Jammu and Kashmir Police’s deputy superintendent Davinder Singh, who was caught with two Hizbul Mujahideen commanders on January 10, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) found that all three were in “constant touch” with an assistant in the Pakistani mission named Shafqat, the people said. Shafqat, they added, was allegedly a conduit for hawala transactions and terror financing.