Ten Pakistan-based terrorists have been found involved in funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency into the Valley after the government suspended cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) from April 19, government sources said on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had cited misuse by militants as the reason for shutting down the trade.
The sources said investigations had shown that the 10 from J&K had crossed over to Pakistan and joined terror groups. They were found to be engaged in the trade.
“Firms under the control of these militants were doing LoC trade with Indian trading firms operated by their own relatives on the Indian side. The channel of LoC trade, meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations, was being exploited to fund illegal and anti-national activities in Jammu & Kashmir,” a source said.
According to sources, the individuals include Basharat Ahmed Bhat from Budgam currently living in Rawalpindi who operates Al Nasir Trading Company in Pakistan and was active in the LoC trade.
Shabbir Illahi from Sopore is a member of the Hizbul Mujahideen and is involved in trading through M.N. Trading Company and Sultan Traders. Another Budgam native, Showkat Ahmad Bhat lives in Rawalpindi and runs Taha Enterprises, the sources said. A resident of Ichkoot in Budgam, Mohd. Iqbal Sheikh, is associated with the company.
Another Budgam native now living in Rawalpindi, according to sources, Noor Mohd. Ganai, runs Al Noor with the help of his brother Farooq Ahmad Ganai, a resident of Beerwah.
The sources said Khurshid, a Srinagar resident who lives in Islamabad now, runs Khursheed and Sons, Muzaffarabad.
Originally from Budgam and now living in Muzzafarabad, Pakistan, Imtiyaz Ahmed Khan was engaged in the trade through MIK Traders and Imtiyaz Traders Muzaffarabad, sources said.
A Pattan native living in Rawalpindi, Amir, is also among the 10, sources said. The government sources said Sayeed Ajay Ahmed Shah alias Aizaz Rehmani from Srinagar and living in Muzaffarabad is the vice-chairperson of the People’s League in PoK.
“Enquiries have revealed that Aizaz Rehmani’s brother-in-law Arshad Iqbal Shah alias Ashu is involved in cross LoC trade since 2010,” a source said.
Arshad was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in 2016 and is in the Baramulla district jail, the source said.
Mehrajuddin Bhat from Tral now living in Rawalpindi runs Mehrajuddin Traders. Nazir Ahmed Bhat, from Pampore now living in Pakistan, runs New Kashmir Traders or New Kashmir Firm, sources said.