An independent resource on Kashmir for researchers, journalists, academics,
and the curious.
November 2003: jammukashmir.net is back
on-line and will be updated. Apologies for the lapse over the summer.
Key Personalities of Kashmir
|Here are a
number of profiles of leading figures associated with the Kashmir conflict.
Please suggest other names for profiles, or updates of existing ones.
Mufti Mohd Sayeed
Mufti Mohd Sayeed is the chief minister of Indian
Kashmir, following the strong election performance of the People's
Democratic Party in 2002 state assembly elections. A former congress
politician and union home minister, he is keen to assert good governance in
the state. However, he is in a weak coalition with the Congress Party,
which raises long-term questions about his government.
Official Jammu & Kashmir State
The pro-Indian, but pro-autonomy for Kashmir,
former chief minister of the Indian state
of Jammu & Kashmir.
A one-time doctor in England, Farooq is married to Molly, an
English nurse. Farooq Abdullah has been a leading figure in Kashmiri politics since the
early 1980s. He is son and heir to Sheikh Abdullah, the nationalist Kashmiri leader who
did so much to end feudalist Dogra rule in Kashmir during the 1930s and 40s. Farooq
Abdullah has a different reputation to his father. There have been allegations of
corruption, and during the 1980s and 90s he had something of a playboy image. He was chief
minister between 1982 and 1984, when he was controversially dismissed by Governor Jagmohan, only to return in 1986 as part of an intricate deal that saw an alliance between
Congress (I) and his National Conference party.
Farooq won state assembly elections in 1987, but the results were contested by the
Muslim United Front, a separatist alliance that claimed it had been cheated of many seats
through rigging. The Valley soon slid into violence from 1988, and in January 1990 Farooq
Abdullah resigned when New Delhi appointed Jagmohan as Governor once again. He spent much
of the intervening time back in London. In September 1996 Farooq returned to power when
new state assembly elections were held, and he has led the Indian state government ever
since. Today he is widely reckoned to be seeking a role in national Indian politics,
perhaps as Vice-President.
The Jammu & Kashmir police answer to him but not the Army. He is a superb
Read more about Abdullah:
Recommended Aditya Sinha, Farooq Abdullah A Biography (New
Delhi, UBSPD) This biography of Farooq paints him in a sympathetic light, but still covers
many of the criticisms that have been levelled at him.
Raising Cain (September 1999)
Profile - The Good Doctor
(Outlook, October 2000)
Lecture by Farooq
Abdullah Stimson Centre (April 1999)
Biography from the Stimson Centre
The Survivor, Jang (August 2000)
over Kashmir - Business Line (June 2000)
from India Infoline
INDIAN KASHMIR (STATE GOVERNMENT)
Governor of (Indian) Jammu & Kashmir - and a former chief
of the Indian external intelligence service, the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) from
1983-1986. Saxena is very bright - and an old political hand. Nowadays his role is more
ceremonial (he was Governor before from May 26, 1990 to March 12, 1993 (then wielding
executive power). He was reappointed governor of the state on May 2, 1998. He remains a
powerful figure in Kashmir, a link between Kashmir and Delhi, and a visible symbol of
Delhi's ability to suspend democratic rule if it so chooses.
He retires at the end of April 2003.
Mohd Shafi Uri
Uri is one of the most
colourful characters in contemporary Kashmiri politics. An
avuncular and personable politican, he literally fills a room.
Unusually, for a National Conference politician, he is well-regarded across
a wider political spectrum. In part this is down to his blunt, matter
of fact manner - which has not always endeared him to Delhi. But it is
also because he has a firm powerbase as a popular local politican from Uri,
a town that nestles on the Jhelum river in the western Kashmir Valley.
Even so, he lost his seat in the 2002 State Assembly elections.
Like father, like son. Umar Abdullah is the son of
Farooq Abdullah, grandson of Sheikh Abdullah. As with all South Asian
dynasties, power cascades down the generations.
Since the National Conference defeat in 2002, he has taken over the reins of
the party in Kashmir.
Adbullah is a a
moderniser, keen to reform Kashmir's moribund economy. But he is also
a key target of militants, who have tried to kill him a number of times.
He is slowly building a political base in Kashmir, but meanwhile is the most
visible sign of the National Conference role in the BJP-led Indian
In a shock result, he loses his election fight for a
state assembly seat in October 2002. While he is likely to remain a
leading figure in Kashmir politics, he will - for now at least - have to
rebuild the shattered National Conference.
A leading figure in the relatively new Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP), Mufti is unusual figure in Kashmir a female politician. While she has
with little political success, perhaps due to her father's (Mufti Mohd Sayeed) unfortunate
legacy as Indian Home Minister in 1989, she has just made
a strong showing in the 2002 Kashmir state assembly elections - and the PDP
has become the main party in the Kashmir Valley.
Her campaign in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections was
an interesting one. Her party used the same symbols as the Muslim United Front did
in their 1987 election campaign for self-determination, but arguing that the symbols used
to bring the gun into Kashmir should be used to get the gun out. She has campaigned
for unconditional talks with militants and an end to human rights abuses, giving her some
credibility with Kashmiris. At the same time, by participating in (Indian)
elections, she has shown herself and the PDP to be part of the Indian
| Separatist politicians in
Kashmir remain in a loose alliance, the APHC. However, they have not managed to
make headway with India - even though moderates do get a hearing in Washington.
INDIAN KASHMIR (SEPARATISTS)
In his late twenties, the young
Mirwaiz (hereditary priest) of Kashmir has a wide following, especially in his native
Srinagar. A thoughtful young man, he was pushed in the limelight following the murder of
his father in 1990. Seen as one of the more liberal Kashmiri opposition leaders, Farooq is
one of the few who has consistently raised questions about Kashmiri minority communities
as well as the majority Muslims. Farooq is a member, and former Chairman, of the All
Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), the separatist political alliance.
Read more about Farooq:
interview (December 24, 1999)
Umar attacked for
Hurriyat-Centre 'talks' (Indian Express, November 26, 1999)
INDIAN KASHMIR (SEPARATISTS)
The 30-something leader of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Force (JKLF) in
the Kashmir Valley is another charismatic Kashmiri opposition figure. Pro-independence, he
was a military commander of the JKLF before becoming a politician with the JKLF cease-fire
in 1994, which he largely brokered. He spent much of the early 1990s in Indian jails, and
has been frequently detained since. He is not well, allegedly having been badly mistreated
in prison, and there are continuing concerns about his health. He enjoys great support in
the part of Srinagar he comes from, but it is unclear how much support he enjoys across
the Valley as a whole. Malik is popular with pro-independence diaspora Kashmiri activists,
and is a more important pro-independence figure today than Amanullah Khan (see below).
Malik was arrested under Indian POTO legislation at the end of March, 2002.
Kashmir is not an animal to be carved up, Time Magazine (May 2000)
Today profile of Yasin Malik
Yasin Malik on
talks, Indian Express (June 2000)
INDIAN KASHMIR (SEPARATISTS)
Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Geelani emerged in the 1970s as a leading figure in the Jamaat-i-Islami,
and has been the dominant leader in the JI during the 1980s and 1990s. Only today do some
claim that his star is fading. He seeks union with Pakistan. Despite such claims,
Geelani remains an important figure. In 2003, he has bid to become the
leading political figure representing militant groups in Kashmir.
Read more about Geelani:
Rediff Interview, April
Interview with Geelani,
Praveen Swami (Frontline, August 27 - September 5, 1997)
in The Week (August 8, 1999)
Jamaat-i-Islami, Jama'at-e-Islami Jammu & Kashmir at a Glance (Srinagar,
JI, c. 1993)
Jamaat-i-Islami, The most Misunderstood and ill-oppressed organisation (Srinagar,
Political Bureau, JI, c.1995)
A critical view from
jammu-kashmir.com Alleges corruption in APHC ranks.
INDIAN KASHMIR (SEPARATISTS)
Shabir Shah is one of the highest profile campaigners for Kashmiri independence.
As a a leader of the Jammu Kashmir People's League, he campaigner for
self-determination in Kashmir from the late 1960s. Having spent much of his life in
Indian jails, and - in the 1990s - gained international coverage as an Amnesty
International Prisoner of Conscience, Shah remains an important figures in Kashmiri
politics. But he is also controversial. Despite 20 years in Indian prisons,
and a raptorous popular welcome in Kashmir when he was released in October 1994, his
political activities since have antagonised both India and fellow Kashmiri opposition
leaders. He declined to join the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) because it
would not adopt his more liberal agenda, and chose instead to start a new political party
called the Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP).
Unusual among Kashmiri opposition leaders, Shah has been outspoken about minorities in
Kashmir and has reached out to them. But critics claim he is more popular overseas,
in particular in the USA, than he is in Kashmir.
Read more about Shabir Shah:
Interview with Shabir Shah (April 18, 1999)
Rediff Interview (July
The people of Kashmir cannot be
wished away (Shabir Shah)
Shabir Shah floats new party
(Rediff, May 25, 1998)
Shabir fleeced Rs 500m, claims
aide (Rediff, April 1998)
Shabir Shah, Voice of Conscience (Shabir Shah's Fan Club, Rawalpindi c.1998)
Altaf Hussain, Shabir Shah: A Living Legend in Kashmir History (Srinagar:
Noble Publishing House, c.1998) This is a somewhat doting hagiography of Shah.
|INDIAN KASHMIR (SECURITY FORCES)
Officer Commanding 15 Corps, Lt Gen V G Patankar (Kashmir Valley)
Lt Gen V.G. Patankar assumed office as the General-Officer
Commanding (GOC) of the 15 Corps of Army, based in the Kashmir Valley, on December 31,
2001. The GOC of 15 Corps of the Army, with the entire Kashmir valley as its area of
operation, is also the Security Adviser to the Jammu and Kashmir Government. He has
previously commanded a Mountain Brigade engaged in counter insurgency operations in the
north-east and later an Infantry Division along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.
Lt Gen Patankar, who was commissioned into the regiment of artillery in June 1965, is a
qualified paratrooper and helicopter pilot who participated in the 1971 war as an Air
Observation Post Pilot. He undertook training at many military institutions in India and
abroad including Joint Services Staff College at Canberra, Australia, higher command
course at College of Combat, Mhow and United States Army War College course in
He has been in post just a few months during a period of intense military
INDIAN KASHMIR (SECURITY FORCES)
Border Security Force Inspector General, G.S.Gill
G.S.Gill is a police officer transferred into the paramilitary Border Security Force
(BSF), where he commands BSF forces in Kashmir. These armed units are responsible for
internal security and counter-militancy operations. Gill is a quiet-spoken Sikh officer
who previously served in the Punjab, and who reports to the Unified Military Command in
Kashmir. He has been in Kashmir for several years, but had previously served in the state
in the mid-1990s.
INDIAN KASHMIR (SECURITY FORCES)
Director General of Police, Mr A K Suri
Mr A K Suri is head of Kashmirs police service, which since 1996 has taken
the lead against militancy. He has just taken over.
Militants in Kashmir continue their campaign
against India, and they hope to alter Indian policy on Kashmir, or at least make Indian
control of the Kashmir Valley overly expensive.
Hizbul Mujahadeen founder and chief, Salahuddin is based in Pakistan.
" Until 1987 he was a little known pro-Pakistan
ideologue-political activist who swore by the Indian Constitution, not once but thrice. He
unsuccessfully contested Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections as a Jammat-e-Islami
candidate. Then he was known as Yousaf Shah. Today, this failed Kashmiri politician holds
all the guns and aces for peace in Kashmir as Syed Salahuddin, Supreme Commander of
Hizb-ul Mujahideen, a dreaded militant outfit that evokes both fear and sympathy among the
violence-weary people of Kashmir. Enigmatic but forthright, 55-year-old Salahuddin is now
a father figure, reverentially called Peer Sahib (a religious title), among the militants
fighting a decade-long
tenacious and bloody secessionist insurgency in the Valley." (taken from Vinayak
Read more about Salahuddin:
Ramesh Vinayak (News Today, September 7, 2000)
Will there still be a way
with Hizbul Chief? (Free Press Journal, August 23, 2000) Good
analysis of where Salahuddin stands with India, Pakistan - and Majid Dar.
is India's turn now to offer ceasefire, Indian Express (September 10, 2000)
Saif-ul-Islam, who was
killed aged 49 in 2003 by Indian security forces, was the Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen (HM)
chief commander for field operations in the Kashmir Valley, replacing Abdul Majeed Dar
(also killed 2003).
Saif-ul-Islam was appointed on October 26, 2001. Apparently Dar's term had run its course,
but some will point to the fact that Dar was compromised by a summer 2000 cease-fire. The
HM command council took the decision. He joined militancy in 1990, has been a member of
the HM command council, and has served as a senior military advisor of the Hizb. Educated,
he has a BA and speaks Persian and Arabic.
He was loyal to Syed Salahuddin and, as a Kashmiri militant, probably prefers Kashmiris
rather than non-Kashmiris to be fighting India. He closely linked himself (in
February 2002) to the fresh APHC position.
INDIAN KASHMIR (MILITANTS)
Formerly Hizbul Mujahadeen (HM) operational commander in Jammu & Kashmir
(until October 2001), Dar gained a name for himself with the cease-fire announcement by HM
in August 2000. While the cease-fire soon fell through, Dar was seen as an
important militant leader by both the Indians and Pakistanis. He comes from the Islamist
town of Sopore, in the north of the Kashmir Valley, and ran a dry cleaning store
before joining the militancy. As a Valley commander, born and bred, Dar is perhaps more in
touch with what the militant cadre and civilian population think about the changing
situation on the ground. Dar did want Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan. Dar was
viewed as an intelligent moderate with a strong base in the south of the Kashmir Valley.
HM has about 1,000 to 1,800 militants. Many are Kashmiri from the Kashmir Valley.
HM enjoys a wider support network in the Kashmir Valley than many other militant groups
because of its traditional links with Jamaat-i-Islami, the Islamist party. Jamaat
supporters form a natural support base for HM, and it is changing thinking in Jamaat along
with the changing nature of militancy that is encouraging Dar to consider different forms
of resistance to India. It is difficult to estimate how much support Dar enjoys from HM
commanders, but sources in the Valley argue it has declined steeply as he appears to be
living under Indian protection. In May 2002 Dar was expelled from the HM by
Salahuddin. However, there have been rumblings from HM commanders in the Kashmir
Valley, some of whom continue to support his position.
He was killed by unidentified gunmen in 2003.
Read more about Dar:
Abdul Majid Dar: more a
politician than a militant
face" of the Mujahideen
Salim Hashmi, spokesman, HM (Pakistan)
Salim Hashmi is based in Pakistan and issues statements and talks to journalists on
behalf of the Hizbul Mujahadeen. Little is know about him; he is believed to be a young
Jaish-e-Muhammad, Commander in Chief Masood Azhar (detained in Pakistan)
Presently under arrest by Pakistani authorities, the leader of the
Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) was born in the Pakistani Punjab in 1968. He was educated at a
religious school, and went on to write several Islamic books. He then joined the
Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen and fought Indian forces in Kashmir, being captured in 1993. He was
detained in several Indian prisons.
In December 1999 terrorists hijacked an Indian airlines plane from Kathmandu to Delhi.
They murdered one of the passengers, and flew the plane to Kandahar in Afghanistan, where
India eventually traded three prisoners including Azhar for the
passengers lives. In January 2001, Masood Azhar founded the extremist
Jaish-e-Muhammad, which was later reponsible for a series of suicide attacks in Kashmir
(for example, a car-bomb attack on the Army headquarters in April 2001). He was arrested
by the Pakistani authorities in December 2001 following the suicide attack on the Indian
Azhar is deeply anti-Western, and JeM has supported wider militancy against the West.
Jaish-e-Muhammad Commander Abu Hijrat (Kashmir Valley)
This Kashmiri commander of JeM was appointed following the detention of Masood Azhar in
late 2001. Next to nothing is known about him; the Indian government has blamed the JeM
for the suicide attack on the Indian parliament (December 13, 2001).
Jaish-e-Muhammad press spokesman Shamsud-din-Haider (Kashmir Valley?)
Shamsud-din-Haider is the new spokesman for the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), and in a
statement on February 4, 2002, JeM claimed that he is a Valley Kashmiri. Nothing is known
about him not even his present location, although it is presumed that he is based
in the Kashmir Valley. The JeM also announced that it will:
"- henceforth limit its activities within the confines of Jammu and Kashmir and
recall its activists spread across India. "From now on, Jaish will only fight the
freedom struggle inside Kashmir. All mujahideen active across India have been ordered to
report back to commander-in-chief Abu Hijrat in Kashmir"
- native Kashmiris will constitute two-thirds of its ranks as against the non-Kashmiris;
- claims a massive weapons and ammunition dump in the valley which will suffice for a
five-year long militant campaign against India"
However, there are suspicions that the JeM may have been involved in the kidnap and
murder of Daniel Pearl in January/February 2002, as the main suspect, Ahmed Sheikh, had
close links to the group. The JeM were formally banned by President Musharraf and many
activists arrested in Pakistan on January 12, 2002.
INDIAN CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
LEADING FIGURES ON KASHMIR
India is the leading player on Kashmir: whether Kashmiris
like it, or not. As the status quo power in the Kashmir Valley, Indian policy on
Kashmir is a critical determinant of what will happen in future.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
Born in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh in 1926, Indias first
Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister continues to be an unknown quantity. While cautious and
pragmatic, his political roots lie with the extremist Hindu RSS, and BJP fortunes depend
on RSS canvassing at elections. Foreign Minister in the 1970s, Prime Minister (briefly) in
1996, and then Prime Minister at the head of a BJP-led coalition from 1998, Vajpayee is
committed to making India a great state. To this end, he ordered nuclear tests in 1998.
But he has also made strides for peace travelling on the first bus to the Pakistani
city of Lahore in 1999. In office, he has watered down previous BJP commitments to build a
temple at Ayodha, end Kashmiri autonomy and scrap the separate civil code for Indian
Muslims. At the same time, he escalated the Indo-Pak crisis in December 2001 and his
government has been accused of not doing enough to prevent the communal riots in Gujarat
that killed hundreds in late February 2002. Vajpayee is a published poet and his
poetry even sells well in Kashmir. He is also a bachelor who enjoys cooking. However, at
77 and plagued by alleged health problems the question of succession looms
Foreign Minister Yaswant Sinha
1937, Yaswant Sinha was a member of Indiaís elite Indian Administrative
Service before entering politics in the 1980s. He was elected to the Upper
House (Rajya Sabha) of Indian Parliament in 1988, representing the Janata
party. Subsequently, he became the Finance Minister of India from November,
1990 to June, 1991. He was elected to the Lower House (Lok Sabha) of Indian
Parliament in 1998. He was Finance Minister again in March, 1998 and again
after the elections of 1999. On July 1, 2002, he became Foreign Minister.
Defence Minister George Fernandes
George Fernandes is a 72-year old Christian, and former socialist, who
has turned more and more hawkish in recent years. First elected to the Lok Sabha in 1947,
he founded his own party, the Samata party, in 1994. When then Prime Minister of India
Indira Gandhi imposed a state of emergency in 1975, he went underground to fight it and
her. In the early 1990s, Fernandes was considered a moderate who understood issues like
Kashmir well. In 1998, he was appointed defence minister in the BJP-led coalition. Sacked
in March 2001 following a corruption scandal, he was soon reappointed on October 15, 2001.
He is known for his erratic statements, including on-record comments like China
is our public enemy number one. During the December 2001 crisis he also implied that
India was setting deadlines on Pakistan according to his critics, potentially
destabilising a difficult situation. He remains popular, however, particularly with the
Home Minister L.K.Advani
L.K.Advani is reputed to be the hard man of
Indias ruling BJP although whether his views differ substantially from Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee remains hotly disputed by commentators. He was born in 1929
in Karachi (now in Pakistan), and educated at Bombay University. At the time of partition
he was the militant Hindu RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) organiser in Karachi.
Following partition, he moved to the state of Rajasthan, where he continued to organise
for the RSS. He then became active in the first Hindu Nationalist party in India, the Jan
Sangh. A member of Indias upper house in the 1970s and 80s, he was briefly
information and broadcasting minister in the Janata government in 1977. In the late 1980s
he was elected to Indias lower house, the Lok Sabha, and became a leading figure in
BJP national politics. In 1992, he was a leading figure in the agitation that led to the
destruction of a 15th century mosque at Ayodha, arguing that it should be replaced by a
new Hindu temple. Over 2,000 people were killed in the communal riots that swept India as
a result and Advani earned his hardline reputation.
He was appointed Home Minister in 1998.
RAW Chief Vikram Sood
Appointed on December 13, 2000, Vikram Sood is chief of Indias powerful
foreign intelligence service, the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW). He has direct access
to the Indian Prime Minister, and a global network of stations. RAW station chiefs also
provide political analysis, thereby contributing to foreign policy formation. RAW is
answerable to the Indian Prime Minister, and does not engage in independent actions. Sood
is a career intelligence officer, joining RAW in 1966. There was criticism of RAW
following the 1999 Kargil Crisis, which was portrayed by many as an intelligence failure.
It is assumed that RAW coverage of Pakistan is patchy, with little real-time strategic
intelligence at Corps Commander level.
Army Chief General S. Padmanabhan
General Padmanabhan was born in December 1940 in the Southern Indian state of
Kerala. He is an artillery officer, and spent much of his career teaching at the Indian
Military Academy and the School of Artillery. His career took off in the 1990s
Major-General in 1991, Lt. General in 1993, and appointment as Corps Commander of 15 Corps
in the insurgency-wracked Kashmir Valley. His command in Kashmir coincided with major
challenges to Indian rule, like the siege of Hazratbal Mosque in 1993, but it also marked
the beginning of Indian successes in the war against militancy. He worked closed with
Brigadier Arjun Ray, who advised him to take a proactive public affairs policy in Kashmir.
This switch to hearts and minds by the Army delivered some results. In 1994 he
was appointed director-general of military intelligence, and then as commander of the
Udhampur-based Northern Command in overall charge of the Indian Army in the
North-West of India. Considered to be politically sophisticated, but committed to
Indias defence, he was appointed Chief of Army Staff on October 1, 2000.
Pakistan has aims in and on Kashmir: however, it
has found international opinion barren on the Kashmir issue, and it has not managed to
alter Indian policy.
GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN
LEADING FIGURES ON KASHMIR
President Pervez Musharraf
Born in Delhi in 1943, General Pervez Musharraf was part of the Urdu-speaking
Muslim population of Pakistan that moved from India during partition. He joined the Army
as an artillery officer in 1964, and saw action in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. A commando in
the Special Services Group (SSG) for seven years, he also saw action in the 1971 war. He
made Major General in 1991, Lt. General in 1995 (with a strike corps to command). He spent
a year training at the Royal College of Defence Studies, in London, and is considered a
secular, Western-minded General.
In 1998 he took over as Chief of Army Staff following the resignation of General
Jehangir Karamat. He was widely considered responsible for the military incursion in
Kargil in the early Summer of 1999, which precipitated a major Indo-Pak crisis. Following
an attempt by the Pakistani Prime Minister to sack him, he seized power in Pakistan on
October 12, 1999.
In July 2001, he travelled to India to meet Prime Minister Vajpayee at the Agra
Summit. And following the September 11 attacks, he immediately pledged support for the
United States. His power-base in Pakistan appears strong, with a major rival
General Mohd Aziz sidelined and backing from the Army for his announcement
of sweeping changes to Pakistan in January 2002. However, his regime is a collegiate
military dictatorship with consensus decisions from the corps commanders ruling the
Zafarullah Jamali is the 54 year-old prime minister of
Pakistan, elected in late 2002. He used to be a supporter of Nawaz Sharif,
the prime minister overthrown in 1999, but turned away from Sharif to form a
dissident faction of the Pakistan Muslim League. In October 2002 this
faction won most seats in Pakistanís general elections. Jamali was formerly
acting chief minister of Balochistan in 1996, and he became a senator in
1997. Jamali comes from a landowning family which has played an active role
in Pakistani politics for over 50 years. He is from the Punjab, and educated
at Punjab University. He is considered to be
a weak prime minister, as most real power in Pakistan still resides with
Lt. General Mohd Aziz Khan
Lt.General Aziz Khan is presently chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
committee in the Pakistani armed forces. This role, while it has him alongside senior
Generals, lacks teeth, as he does not directly command a key corps. He is notionally
number three in the military heirarchy, after Musharraf and Vice Chief of Army General
He played a critical role in the 1999 coup that brought Musharraf to power
then as Chief of the General Staff. As a leading hawk, he firmly backed Kashmiri militant
groups in their fight against India, often visiting Pakistani Kashmir to lend visible
support to the cause. On September 1, 2000, he was posted to the critical post of Lahore
Corps Commander. On October 7, 2001, Aziz Khan was effectively neutralised as a coup risk
by being appointed to his new job.
General Aziz Khan is a burly officer, much loved by Kashmiri militant groups. He
is said to say little in the leadership meetings.
ISI Chief Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq
General Ehsan ul-Haq is a trusted friend of Musharraf
and the man Musharraf has chosen to bring the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI)
into line with Pakistans new policy position on militant groups. He was appointed
shortly after the September 11 attacks. The ISI is a powerful organisation (perhaps 10,000
strong), staffed by military officers at the higher levels, which provides both domestic
and foreign intelligence for Pakistan. The ISI has stations worldwide, and a separate
reporting structure back to Pakistan. Regionally, the ISI played a leading role in
developing both the 1980s Afghan resistance and the 1990s Taliban. It also supported
Kashmiri militant groups with a covert stream of funding, weapons and communications
equipment. Today Ehsan ul-Haq is pledged to reform it further and has already
supposedly closed its Kashmir directorate in January 2002.
Pakistan doesn't have it all its own way: the
pro-independence Kashmiri Jammu Kashmir Liberation Force (JKLF) campaigns against
Pakistani control of Kashmir as well.
PAKISTANI KASHMIR (SEPARATISTS)
Khan was an important JKLF leader in the 1970s and 1980s, and has
spent much of his life in exile. A strong advocate of independence, he has advocated
violent insurrection against Indian rule for many years, and continues to agitate against
Pakistani rule over Azad Kashmir as well. He comes from the Northern areas of Kashmir, so
does not have the same connections to the Valley as many Kashmiris do. In 1994 the JKLF
split for the third time, when Yasin Malik called a JKLF cease-fire. Khan disowned his
Valley commander, accusing him of treachery, and since has been reduced to leading a rump
JKLF faction largely based in Pakistan. Khan is based in Rawalpindi.
Read more about Amanullah Khan:
Today interview (October 3, 2000)
Amanullah Khan, The United States
and Kashmir (c.1994)
JKLF (AK) web-site
The United Nations plays a lesser part in the Kashmir
conflict, despite hopes from Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists that it will reactivate UN
involvement in the Kashmir dispute.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Born in 1938 in Ghana, and educated at MIT, Kofi Annan was appointed UN Secretary
General in January 1997. He had worked with the UN since 1962, and while the first black
African Secretary General, he was also considered an inside candidate with US
approval. He was elected for a second term in 2001. The same year he was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize (with the UN). A former head of UN peacekeeping, Annan is self-confident and
candid but has no illusions about the Kashmir dispute, one of the world conflicts
that the UN has failed to make any headway on. Annan is on frosty terms with the head of
UNMOGIP, the UN mission in Kashmir, following a diplomatic incident in October 2001. Annan
has also played a minimal role in the Winter 2001 Indo-Pak crisis. It is difficult for him
to intervene given Indias determination to keep the UN out of Kashmir.
UNMOGIP Commander General Hermann Loidolt
General Hermann Loidolt (an Austrian Army officer seconded to the UN) got into
serious trouble over comments he made in October 2001, calling for US intervention in the
Kashmir dispute. The Indian government complained to the UN about this a serious
excess of his role. On November 1 he was reprimanded ("reminded of the limits of his
responsibilities") and journalists were told by UN HQ that his views "did not
reflect the views of the Secretary-General."
With 45 military observers and an annual budget of around $8m, the UN Military Observer
Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is one of the oldest standing UN operations. It was
established in 1951 under Resolution 51, to observe and report on the cease-fire between
India and Pakistan in Kashmir. UNMOPGIPs functions are to observe and report,
investigate complaints of cease-fire violations and submit its findings to each party and
to the Secretary-General. However, in 1971 the Government of India argued that the Kashmir
dispute was now confirmed (thanks to the Simla agreement between India and Pakistan) as a
bilateral dispute, and withdrew effective support for UNOGIP. While UNMOGIP maintains
observers on both sides, only on the Pakistani side are reports made of actual or alleged
breaches of the cease-fire. UN observers have access to the sensitive line of control (on
the Pakistani side), their own secure communications and aircraft, and could potentially
report back to New York. However, their role is strictly contained. In 1990 a
demonstration by around 200,000 Kashmiris assembled next to the UN mission building in
Srinagar, in the Kashmir Valley. Its calls for UN intervention in the Kashmir dispute fell
on closed ears; insofar as the UN mission has no bearing on the wider Kashmir dispute
it is simply a functional cease-fire military observer mission.
The Americans matter on Kashmir - but they, too, have
an agenda in the region. In 2002 they were actively trying to reduce tension
between India and Pakistan.
President George W. Bush
After serving in the Texas National Guard George W. Bush worked in the oil and gas
industries until 1986, when he got involved in his father's successful 1988 presidential
campaign. He returned to Texas and was elected governor there in 1994 and again in 1998.
Bush won the Republican nomination for president in August of 2000, and won the
presidential race later that year (after a small dispute over ballots in Florida). He
knows relatively little about foreign affairs, but appears to be learning fast. In
December 2001 he intervened by telephone to encourage India and Pakistan to settle their
differences; in January 2002 he welcomed Pakistans commitment to ban certain
His presidency has so far been defined by the events of September 11 and thereafter,
and he enjoys high approval ratings.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
After a poor upbringing in the American South, Colin Powell joined the army. He
completed two tours in Vietnam, winning two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Soldiers
Medal, and the Legion of Merit. He became the first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff from 1989 to 1993, and made his name as Americas military commander during the
Gulf War. In 2001, President Bush appointed him Secretary of State where he appears
to tread, as a bipartisan figure, a more moderate path than some.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld is a hawk who previously served as Secretary of State for Defence
in the mid-1970s. Before that, he was a congressman in Illinois for eight years. He was a
Cold War warrior, and is a firm supporter of National Missile Defence. He is responsible
for the military campaign against terrorism. President Bush appointed him Defence
Secretary in 2001.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
Provost of Stanford University (1993-1999), previously senior fellow with the
Hoover Foundation. She has moved in and out of think-tanks and government work. She was a
College Professor at the age of 26, and is considered hawkish and very bright. Rice is a
Council of Foreign Relations member, a National Endowment for the Humanities trustee, and
a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
CIA Chief George Tenet
Appointed CIA chief in 1997, Tenet was formerly deputy chief (1995-1997). Prior to
that, he worked on a number of staff posts in and around the House and Senate. He was
educated at Georgetown.
The US has good intelligence coverage of South Asia from satellite imagery and
electronic intercepts. While criticised for not predicting the 1998 nuclear tests, the CIA
can play a useful role in defusing regional tension by providing information to the
President and Department of State.
Assistant Secretary of State (South Asia) Christina Rocca
Christina Rocca was a career CIA officer from 1982-1987, working on
counter-terrorism issues. She worked on Afghanistan in the early 1990s. From 1997-1999,
she worked as an aide to Senator Brownback, a republican. She read history at Kings
College London. Her views on Kashmir (whatever they are) will make a difference.
Britain helped to create the Kashmir problem, but
Tony Blair doesn't have a magic solution. In 2002 British
diplomats have been supporting American moves to reduce tension between India and
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair was born in 1953 in Scotland, and after qualifying as a lawyer became MP
for Sedgefield in 1983. In 1994, he became the youngest ever leader of the Labour Party
and won a decisive victory in the 1997 general election (a feat he repeated in
2001). A leading player on the world stage, he has been at the forefront of the diplomatic
campaign to bolster support for the US-led war on terrorism post September 11. In January
2002, he travelled to India and Pakistan in an attempt to reduce tension (though cynics
gently noted that he was also trying to held BAE sell Hawk Trainer jets to India).
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Jack Straw became Britains Foreign Secretary on 8 June 2001, following the
surprise removal of Robin Cook. Born in 1946, he became a barrister before entering
politics. He is a Blair loyalist. At the Foreign Office he is seen as a relatively weak
Foreign Secretary, as the Prime Minister has taken the lead on many foreign policy issues
(including visiting India and Pakistan in January 2002, and again in late May 2002).
However, Straw has a role to play and will be keen to bolster UK-Indian trade,
placate the UK South Asian diaspora, while keeping Pakistan on side. In late 2001 a key
foreign policy shift took place when Britain said it would support Indias bid for a
permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
And finally ....
KASHMIR ACTIVISTS OVERSEAS
Ghulam Nabi Fai
Fai is President of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), a leading
diaspora lobby group campaigning for Kashmiri self-determination. A Kashmiri from the
Valley, Fai lobbies US politicians and officials on Kashmir based from an office in
Washington DC. It has been alleged that Fai receives Pakistani funds which he
denies. He is also an important figure in continuing informal moves between India,
Pakistan and the United States on Kashmir.
Kashmir Times profile of Fai (Aug 15, 2000) by Masood Hussain
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the executive director of the Washington based Kashmir American
Council (KAC) is said to be the single most important person who has been behind all the
major pro-Kashmir gains of Pakistan or APHC. According to diplomatic circles "(Mr)
Fai can claim credit for doing in a decade what Islamabad could not do for five
Hailing from Wadwan village in the central Kashmir Budgam, Fai has been a dedicated
full time Jamat-e-Islami (JI) worker. Very close to JI founder President (late) Moulana
Said-ud-Din Tarbali, the young village boy did his masters in Philosophy from AMU. With
the help of patron Moulana, he got admission and the scholarship in the Um-ul-Qura
University in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) where he studied for couple of years. He holds PhD in
mass communications from Temple University, Pennsylvania.
Then in 1983, he returned to Kashmir for a brief time and left for Saudi Arabia where
he had a brief halt, probably as a teacher. He went again to USA where he joined the
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as a full-time worker. Quite a few people remember
his brief essays in the columns of mass circulated Daily Aftab under a pseudonym "Fay
Badgami". It was this Fay that became Fai and interestingly nobody knows what Fai
In 1990, when the Kalashnikovs started rattling in Kashmir, Kashmiri Americans founded
KAC of which Dr Fai became the Executive Director. Over 350 Kashmiri families are living
in USA. In this capacity, Dr Fai has had the best opportunity to expand his influence.
People who knew him assert that Dr Fai is treated as one of the star lobbyists who has an
"excellent convincing power". He has the best contacts among the Congressmen and
is even helping various parties in elections and the fund-raising. Some go to the extent
of saying that Ms Robin Raphel, a former state department officer was her friend.
Obviously he is the most influential in the entire Muslim community from the Indian
subcontinent. He has had a couple of interactions with various US Presidents including
with Bill Clinton before his March visit to India.
During last ten years he has travelled to over 40 countries lecturing on Kashmir. His
engagements include speaking to the UN Commission on Human Rights, being invited by the
European Parliament to brief on Kashmir and to five successive OIC meetings of the heads
of the states and the Congressional Caucus in USA. Dr Fai has two children from his
Chinese (second) wife. His first wife continues to live in Wadwan.
KASHMIR LOBBYISTS OVERSEAS
From Kashmir, Thakur is one of the diaspora Kashmiri activists on behalf
of Kashmiri opposition. Based in London, he is President of the World Kashmir Freedom
Movement (WKFM) which campaigns for Kashmiri self-determination. Some Kashmir watchers
feel that Thakur, while a crucial figure in the early 1990s, is more detached from the
Kashmir issue now so much activity takes place from Washington DC.
Kashmir Times profile of Thakur (August 15, 2000) by Masood Hussain
Dr Ayub Thakur is a class intellectual. Hailing from a poor peasant family in remote
Pudsoo village of Shopian, Dr Thakur is PhD in nuclear physics. After a brief stint at the
Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (Zakoora, Srinagar), Thakur was appointed ad-hoc lecturer in
the University of Kashmir.
Well before he could complete his post-doctorate, he joined Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, one
of the powerful organisations of the right-wing students floated and later disowned by JI,
and eventually became its secretary general. He had brief visits to Dhaka and Malaysia as
a delegate of the International Islamic Federation of Students Organisations (IIFSO), of
which his group was a member.In August 1980, the Jamiat-e-Talaba planned a grand
"international conference" which was expecting a gathering of over
quarter-million youth from the state. Some leaders of international reputation were also
expected. Ruling NC became apprehensive of an emerging power centre. It banned the Jamiat.
So many of its leaders were arrested under Public Safety Act (PSA) including Dr Thakur.
When he was freed after five months, he was elected as the Chief of the organisation.
Tired of playing a cat-and-mouse game with the police, he opted to accept the offer of a
lecturer in the King Abdul Aziz University Jeddah where he served upto 1984. He married
his Baramulla classmate in 1981 in absentia. Probably the first marriage where groom's
consent was taken on phone and the bride flew to Jeddah. Since 1984, he was in London as a
JI worker. In 1990, he founded World Kashmir Freedom Movement of which he is the Chairman.
Though he is stated to be highly mobile, he is thorough intellectual.
He is stated to be driving force behind Alistair Lamb's two highly acclaimed
controversial books on Kashmir - Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy and Kashmir- The Birth of a
Tragedy. The books challenge the authenticity of the Instrument of Accession signed by the
Maharaja Hari Singh in late 1947 when the tribals raided Kashmir. His criticism of the
APHC leadership often makes broad headlines in Srinagar press.
India Today has a good profile list for major Kashmiri politicians,
This site is not funded by any party to the Kashmir conflict, nor
does it solicit such funds.
All comments and contributions welcome.
Editor: Jeffrey Kile. Last updated:
November 16, 2003