The NIA yesterday filed charge sheet against terror masterminds Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin and ten Kashmiri separatists for alleged terror funding in the Valley. The first reaction I got from Valley was “Please go through the list of the accused charge sheeted by NIA. The balloon is deflated.” A common Kashmiri was looking at this investigation with the hope and scepticism. Hope that at last law will catch up with those who have wreaked havoc in the valley, scepticism that it should not go the same way as the sex scandal case has gone. The big guns are out and only the pawns have been taken to task.
The people of Kashmir were expecting that at last law will catch up with the real culprits responsible for the instability in Kashmir. They were looking forward to cleansing the system once for all. It is a common knowledge in Kashmir that the network is wider and not restricted to Valley only. The beneficiaries of the conflict economy are politicians, separatists, businessmen and even people in the administration. The money was not only coming from Pakistan through Hawala but was also routed through Delhi, Nepal and Gulf. The big question is that if the network is running deep well beyond state boundaries how only 12 people were found involved in running this network. Are we waiting for another cycle of instability that has been witnessed post 2010 to find new set of culprit? Will terror funding stop by locking up these 12 people including two in Pakistan? It raises more questions than the answers that government was looking at.
This was the chance government has missed to gain credibility and support of the people. A common citizen in Kashmir who is facing the brunt of terrorism is disappointed because those who are running conflict economy have got another breather and they will recommence their activities all over again with new players and this time the separatists will not be at the forefront but agents from outside the state will run the show. The drug trafficking has become now the main source of funding. It will be dangerous to live in denial and close eyes to the crime perpetuated on the people of Kashmir by the agents of the enemy.
Had NIA booked all involved in drug trafficking smuggling, money laundering and terror funding it would have sent a strong signal. This would have commenced an era of accountability in Kashmir. The perception in Valley is that now scepticism remains, objectives of the investigation remain unfulfilled and real culprits remain free to continue what they were doing earlier.