Notwithstanding Pakistans efforts towards manipulating global civil society and human rights organisations into indirectly supporting secessionist movements in India, the financial trails and other digital evidence play spoilsport to its designs.
A glaring case in point is that of Khurram Parvez who through his organisation called Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) worked as a Pakistani conduit for close to two decades, aiding in recruiting local Kashmiris as militants and financing them.
After combing through heaps of incriminating evidence, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the agency responsible for probing terrorist activities in India, arrested Khurram Parvez on November 22, 2021. The arrest followed day long search at his house and the JKCCS office in Srinagar.
The recoveries included anti-India propaganda materials, details about Indian Army, sensitive locations, strategic assets, visiting cards of leaders of Pak-based terrorist organisations, including Hizbul Mujahidin (HM).
The seizures further revealed the lead role Parvez played over the years in recruiting Indian operatives/over ground workers (OGWs) for Pak-based terrorist groups. Involvement of these operatives in espionage of Army installations, identification of potential locations for attacks in India are also being probed by the NIA. Some of these operatives were reportedly tasked to hire more associates in various states of India, including J&K, West Bengal, Bihar and Delhi.
The investigations have exposed the rampant use of several so-called non-governmental organisations (NGOs)/ trusts for raising/receiving funds in India and abroad in the name of charitable activities and using the same for carrying out secessionist and terror activities in J&K.
Operating under the garb of a human rights champion in J&K, Parvez used to prey on gullible Kashmiri youth and push them into subversive anti-India activities by providing financial incentives through these shady NGOs.
The modus operandi also involved several front organisations, mostly operating in violation of laws of the land. JKCCS was found to have no registration under FCRA (Foreign Channels Regulations Act) of India. This lack of regulatory oversight facilitated its access to money from abroad to aid terrorist activities.
Several fake NGOs were opened under JKCCS which were used as additional avenues for receiving foreign funds and managing black money. One such organisation named Kashmiri Women’s Initiative for Peace and Disarmament (KWIPD) did not even exist on ground.
Similarly, the Aasia Jeelani Trust was mostly used for receiving dubious funds ostensibly as donations. Money laundering activities were apparently undertaken through these entities on the pretext of fake scholarships. Parvez’s wife, Samina, also helped in managing terror money allegedly through her organisation ‘Action Aid International’.
Financial irregularities were also found in JKCCS’ dealing with other agencies. Sensing financial impropriety by JKCCS, several European funding organisations had even stopped dealing with it.
Another effective channel used by Parvez for managing unaccounted foreign money to fuel separatism in India was through publications and media agencies, including magazines like The Informative Misses, Unheard Voices, reports like Structures of Violence and a documentary film titled ‘A Quest for Justice’.
Following Parvez’s arrest, Pakistani agencies have been approaching international human rights agencies appealing for his release. Pakistan’s support for Parvez is understandable as he had made his fortune serving their interests by luring innocent Kashmiri youth into militancy, including their killing in clashes with security forces on the directions of Pakistani agencies and preparing human rights violation reports to be touted by his Pakistani handlers at international fora to target India.
Considering the huge amount of data collected from digital devices during the raid, the NIA is expected to take time in completing the investigations. Several new disclosures indicating inside support for Parvez and his NGO from Indian actors cannot be ruled out.
However, Parvez’s case clearly underlines the need for greater scrutiny on the functioning of NGOs and media houses, particularly those which are thriving despite lacking a viable revenue model.
It is perhaps the existence of NGOs like JKCCS which under a humane pretext of ‘human rights’ continue to vitiate the minds of innocent Kashmiri youth and make durable and lasting peace in J&K difficult to achieve.