Pakistan: Activities of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF); whether the JKLF practices forced recruitment, and if so, whether this is done in collaboration with the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa|
|Publication Date||7 August 2003|
|Citation / Document Symbol||PAK41794.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Pakistan: Activities of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF); whether the JKLF practices forced recruitment, and if so, whether this is done in collaboration with the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), 7 August 2003, PAK41794.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/485ba87419.html [accessed 30 June 2015]|
Established in 1977 in Birmingham, United Kingdom (JKLF n.d.; Sunday Mercury 15 July 2001), the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is one of Pakistan's oldest separatist organizations (BBC 11 Nov. 2002; Guardian 10 Oct. 2001), calling for the reunification of Kashmir and its independence from Pakistan and India (ibid.; Sunday Mercury 15 July 2001; AFP 12 June 2003; BBC 11 Nov. 2002; ICG 21 Nov. 2002, 30). The JKLF is considered an important member of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a coalition of 23 political parties that form Kashmir's "main separatist alliance" (AFP 18 Apr. 2003; see also ibid. 12 June 2003; BBC 11 Nov. 2002; ICG 21 Nov. 2002, 30). The JKLF has branches in the United States, Indian-administered Jammu Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, the Middle East, the Far East (JKLF n.d.), Britain-over 20 units-and in most European Union countries (Xinhua 28 July 2003).
However, since "[t]he ideological emphasis of separation is increasingly shifting from [a] nationalistic to an Islamic one, ... the prominence of groups such as [the] JKLF is fading" (The Refugee Council June 2002). Accordingly, "for the last ten years, the secular JKLF has been eclipsed by a new breed of hardline Islamist guerrilla groups, backed by successive governments in Islamabad" (Guardian 10 Oct. 2001).
In 1989, the Al Badr, now known as the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was created to "keep a check on the growing influence" of JKLF (Indian Express 22 May 2003). Reportedly, many HM militants were former JKLF members (ibid.). Eventually, the JKLF was "completely marginalized and Pakistan ... embargoed all supply of arms and money to it" (ibid.; see also The Herald Oct. 2001). For an overview of the JKLF and its activities over the past 14 years, please refer to the attached report by the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
The JKLF was an active terrorist outfit until 1994 when it declared a cease-fire by which it still abides (SATP n.d.; Washington Quarterly 22 Mar. 2001). After declaring the cease-fire, the JKLF reportedly "disbanded its military wing" (Al-Sharq al-Awsat 8 Sept. 2002), and by March 2001, the group had "little military capacity" (Washington Quarterly 22 Mar. 2001). On its Website, the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) also indicates that the JKLF "restricts itself to a political struggle" (n.d.).
While recording a statement in court after his March 2002 arrest (BBC 11 Nov. 2002) in India for "'aiding and abetting terrorist activities in the Valley'" (Daily Excelsior 19 July 2003), JKLF chief Yasin Malik, "one of the most popular Kashmiri political leaders, particularly among young people" (BBC 11 Nov. 2002), let it be known that the JKLF "had abandoned armed struggle as a means to achieve its cause ever since his release from jail in 1994" (Daily Excelsior 19 July 2003).
At a JKLF protest held on 28 July 2003 outside the European Parliament in Brussels to urge the European Union to help solve the Kashmir issue, a JKLF spokesman claimed that the group had "renounced military and terrorist activity in 1988 to work for a political solution to the [Kashmir] crisis" (Xinhua 28 July 2003).
However, in February 2003, The Hindu reported that "a newly-formed militant organisation, the Jammu and Kashmir National Liberation Army, ... . is an armoured wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) ..." (9 Feb. 2003).
Activities of the JKLF (January 2001 – July 2003)
Activities of the JKLF from 2001 to July 2003 included the following:
July 2001: The JKLF boycotted legislative assembly elections in Azad Kashmir "after the rejection of nomination papers for 25 JKLF candidates" (BBC 5 July 2001). Authorities reportedly stated that the applications of the JKLF candidates were rejected because they "did not sign a declaration that they stand for the accession of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan" (ibid.).
January 2002: The student wing of the JKLF organized and staged a rally calling for a diffusion of tensions between India and Pakistan, and for the independence of Kashmir (AFP 5 Jan. 2002).
JKLF senior vice-chairman, Bashir Ahmed Bhat, was arrested by Indian authorities (Dawn 23 Dec. 2002).
February 2002: A JKLF chief, Amanullah Kahn, was the guest speaker at a seminar at Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) University entitled "'Mazbool Butt's Role in Kashmir Freedom Struggle'" (ibid.11 Feb. 2002). According to Dawn, Mazbool Butt, who was hanged by the Indian government on 11 February 1984, was "regarded as a top Kashmiri guerrilla leader and pioneer of the ongoing freedom movement, " (ibid.).
March 2002: JKLF leader, Yasin Malik, was jailed for "handling illegal funds to finance militancy" (BBC 11 Nov. 2002).
July 2002: The acting chairman of JKLF, Javid Ahmad Mir, and more than 20 other activists went on a hunger strike to protest human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir (Dawn 28 July 2002).
August 2002: The chairman of JKLF, Amanullah Khan, attended and spoke at an "important meeting" that strove "to intensify the Kashmir freedom movement, strengthen unity, avoid differences and make Azad Kashmir (Pakistan-administered Kashmir) a true base camp of the freedom movement" (Nawa-i-Waqt 22 Aug. 2002).
October 2002: The JKLF held a public meeting to mark October 4 as "Independent Kashmir Day" (Dawn 5 Oct. 2002).
November 2002: JKLF leader, Yasin Malik, was released after being imprisoned for eight months on charges under anti-terrorism laws (BBC 11 Nov. 2002).
December 2002: The JKLF senior vice-chairman, Bashir Ahmed Bhat, was released a year after his arrest by Indian authorities (Dawn 23 Dec. 2002).
February 2003: The JKLF "set up a camp at the Chairing Cross [Pakistn] to highlight the Kashmir cause" (ibid. 6 Feb. 2003).
March 2003: The JKLF chairman, Amanullah Khan, addressed a seminar entitled "'Peace in South Asia and National Liberation of Kashmir'" that was organized by the JKLF's Sindh chapter (ibid. 31 Mar. 2003).
June 2003: The JKLF began a signature campaign calling for "locals to play a part in any talks on Kashmir" (AFP 21 June 2003; see also ibid. 12 June 2003). The day after the campaign began, the JKLF leader, Yasin Malik, was arrested for "'indulging in unlawful activities'" (ibid.). In late June, JKLF activists "held a demonstration in front of [the] Indian High Commission to protest against the illegal detention of party leader Sardar Rauf Kashmiri, who is languishing in Judhpur Jail for the last 12 years (Dawn 24 June 2003). JKLF workers also "urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other human rights organizations to ask India to release the illegally detained leaders" (ibid.).
July 2003: The JKLF held a protest outside the European Parliament in Brussels to urge the European Union (EU) to help solve the Kashmir issue (Xinhua 28 July 2003).
Mention of whether the JKLF practices forced recruitment could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, according to Indian Express, the JKLF did not conduct "unchecked mass recruitment drives to send youths across the border for arms training" (22 May 2003).
Information on whether the JKLF haw worked in collaboration with the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) to recruit members (or any other activity) could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the Research Directorate was able to find the following information on the SSP's affiliation with another group.
The SSP, also known as the Guardians of the Friends of the Prophet (Guardian 13 Mar. 2001), is a "militant group belonging to the majority Sunni Muslim sect of Islam" (ibid. 9 Oct. 2001) that was banned by the Musharraf government on 12 January 2002 (The Herald Mar. 2002, 24; ICG 29 July 2002, 12). According to The Herald, the SSP had close links with the Jaish-e-Mohammad, another militant jihadi group whose chief, Masood Azhar, preached "a doctrine which has its roots in Deobandi teachings" (Feb. 2002, 35). Over time, "[t]he SSP came to be the umbrella political group while the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi represented the organisation's jihadi and domestic militant wings respectively" (The Herald Feb. 2002, 35).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Agence France Presse (AFP). 21 June 2003. "Separatists Extend Signature Campaign to Indian Kashmir Capital." (Dialog)
_____. 12 June 2003. Izhar Wani. "AFP: Kashmiri Rebel Held After Launching Signature Campaign, 19 Killed in Kashmir." (FBIS-NES-2003-0612 13 June 2003/Dialog)
_____. 18 April 2003. "AFP: Police Detain Pro-Independence Leader in Kashmir Capital." (FBIS-NES-2003-0418 21 Apr. 2003/Dialog)
_____. 5 January 2002. "Pakistan Detains Militants as Kashmiris State Anti-War Rallies." (Dialog)
Al-Sharq al Awsat [London, in Arabic]. 8 September 2002. Amir Taheri. "Kashmir: Report on Militant Groups, Upcoming Elections." (Dialog)
BBC. 11 November 2002. "India Frees Kashmir Separatist."
_____. 5 July 2001. Zulifqar Ali. "Voting Underway in Pakistani Kashmir."
Daily Excelsior [Jammu]. 19 July 2003. "Indian Court Restores Bail to Kashmiri Leader in Terrorism Case." (BBC Monitoring/Dialog)
Dawn [Karachi]. 24 June 2003. "Demo Against Detention of Kashmiri Leaders Held."
_____. 31 March 2003. "JKLF Seeks Third Party Role on Kashmir."
_____. 6 February 2003. "Full Support to Kashmiris."
_____. 23 December 2002. "Kashmiri Leader Released."
_____. 5 October 2002. "Independent Kashmir Demanded."
_____. 11 February 2002. "Mazbool Butt's Death Anniversary Today."
_____. 28 July 2002. "Grenade Attack Kills Four in Valley."
Guardian [Manchester]. 10 October 2001. Derek Brown. "Kashmir: Another Kind of Terror."
_____. 9 October 2001. "Anti-US Protesters Killed in Pakistan."
_____. 13 March 2001. "Sectarian Killing Spree Takes Hold."
The Herald [Karachi]. March 2002. Azmat Abbas. "Taming the Militants."
_____. February 2002. Azmat Abbas. "Tightening the Noose."
_____. October 2001. M. Ilyas Khan. "Waiting for the Storm."
The Hindu [Chennai]. 9 February 2003. Luv Puri. "India: Army Official Says Child Militants 'Active' in Jammu and Kashmir." (WNC/Dialog)
International Crisis Group (ICG). 21 November 2002. Kashmir: The View from Srinagar. Asia Report, No. 41.
_____. 29 July 2002. No. 36. "Pakistan: Madrasas, Extremism and the Military."
Indian Express [New Delhi]. 22 May 2003. "Spawning Militancy: The Rise of Hizbul." (Dialog)
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). n.d. "Formation."
Nawa-i-Waqt [Rawalpindi, in Urdu]. 22 August 2002. Sultan Sikandar. "Kashmiri Leaders Reject Poll, Resolve to Continue Freedom Movement." (FBIS-NES-2002-0822 26 Aug. 2002/Dialog)
The Refugee Council, London, UK. June 2002. "Kashmir."
South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). n.d. "Terrorist and Extremist Groups – Jammu and Kashmir."
Sunday Mercury [Birmingham, UK]. 15 July 2001. Amardeep Bassey. "Don't Put Yourselves in Firing Line." (Dialog)
The Washington Quarterly. 22 March 2001. Vol. 24, No. 2. Alexander Evans. "Reducing Tension Is Not Enough." (Dialog)
Xinhua News Agency. 28 July 2003. "Protesters Urge EU to Help Solve Kashmir Issue." (Dialog)
Additional Sources Consulted
Defense and Foreign Affairs Handbook. 2002. 15th ed. Edited by Chief Gregory R. Copley et al. Alexandria, VA: The International Strategic Studies Association.
Europa World Year Book 2002. 2002. 43rd ed. Vol. II. London: Europa Publications.
The Herald [Karachi]. Jan. 2001 – July 2003
Political Parties of the World. 2002. 5th ed. Edited by Alan J. Day. London: John Harper Publishing.
Internet sites, including:
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002
European Country of Origin Information Network
Federation of American Scientists
Freedom in the World Report 2003
Human Rights Watch
United Kingdom, Immigration and Nationality Directorate
United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). n.d. "Terrorist Groups: An Overview."