In a significant development, unprecedented in the last 25 years of Kashmir’s separatist strife, the Pakistani authorities have conducted a series of raids in the national capital of Islamabad and arrested three nephews of the Dukhtaraan-e-Millat founder-chairperson Syed Asiya Andrabi last Saturday.

Ms. Andrabi confirmed the raids by the Pakistan police and told The Hindu that Dr. Syed Mujahid Gilani, Syed Irtiyaz-un-Nabi Gilani [sons of her sister Syed Rehana Andrabi and Dr. Syed Mushtaq Gilani] and Syed Mohammad Shoaib Andrabi [son of her brother Syed Zial-ul-Haq Andrabi] had been arrested after police raided her sister’s house ‘Khayabaan-e-Kashmir,’ in G-15 sector of Islamabad on September 7.

She confirmed her telephonic conversations with her relatives and the Pakistani officials which the Indian intelligence agencies have reportedly intercepted on the weekend.

“I had just finished with my early morning prayers when I received calls from my relatives in Pakistan and Malaysia. I was informed about the raids and the arrest of my three nephews. It was surprising and unbelievable as we had expected such actions from India, not from Pakistan,” Ms. Andrabi said.

“I spoke to the highest level officials in Islamabad. They said there was complete chaos and confusion as nobody knew who had carried out this operation and why. They told me that they had the highest regard for me and my relatives’ valuable sacrifices for Pakistan and held out assurances that the crisis would be resolved,” Ms. Andrabi revealed.

“I told them if some arms and ammunition have been really seized from our relatives’ house, how could these be used against the country we had given our sweat and blood for.

“I told them that we are more staunch Pakistani patriots than they all were as most of my relatives have settled in Pakistan and doing service to that country,” said Ms. Andrabi, who is rated as Kashmir’s most authoritative pro-Pakistan voice, along with hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and her imprisoned husband Ashiq Hussain Faktoo alias Dr Qasim.

In pro-Pakistan Islamist activism, Ms. Andrabi is in fact senior to Mr. Geelani who used to be a member of the J&K Legislative Assembly when she founded Dukhtaraan-e-Millat.

Dukhtaraan played a key role in closing down a flourishing liquor business, cinema halls and video libraries in Kashmir in 1988-89. Later, Ms. Andrabi married Mr. Faktoo, the founder “chief commander” of Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen who is serving a life term in the Srinagar Central Jail for his conviction in the assassination of noted human rights activist Hriday Nath Wanchoo.

Most of Ms. Andrabi’s relatives have shifted home to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, England and Malaysia.

“Dr. Mushtaq Gilani, who also happens to be my cousin, left Kashmir in 1985. After working at a hospital in Saudi Arabia for four years, he settled in Pakistan. He lived in Mirpur and later in Abbotabad before raising his house in Islamabad. My parents joined him there in 1990. Thereafter my sister Rehana married Dr. Gilani. Their eldest son Zulqarnain is a captain in the Pakistan Army. The second son Irtiyaz-un-Nabi is an aeronautical engineer and lecturer with the International Islamic University Islamabad. His wife, who is from Karachi, was in the course of delivery when Irtiyaz-un-Nabi was arrested. Their third son Mujahid Gilani is a paediatric surgeon with the Qaid-e-Azam Hospital. He was handed over to the police by the hospital authorities when a team raided his place of work.” She said that the family had lately arrived from Saudi Arabia.

“My brother Zia-ul-Haq Andrabi, who was doing M.Sc. with the University of Kashmir in 1989, was arrested on the LoC.

Later, he managed to reach Islamabad and married a relative, Syed Masood Gilani’s daughter. Their first son Shoaib was born in 1996. He has just completed 12th standard and was trying to get admission in computer engineering in a college when he was arrested and whisked away to an undisclosed location, along with his car,” Ms. Andrabi said.

Meena Menon reports from Islamabad:

An official at the Tarnol police station in the Islamabad Capital Territory said that Shoaib was caught with a cache of arms and ammunition but did not confirm the presence of “remote controlled spy planes” which was reported in the Dawn newspaper on Tuesday.

The youth was remanded in police custody till Wednesday and produced in a civil court.