Pak-based terrorists set up businesses in Kashmir, smuggled arms, narcotics, fake currency

New Delhi: As many as 10 Pakistan-based terrorists had crossed over from India, set up businesses across the border with help from the Pakistani spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, and were engaged in channeling arms, drugs and counterfeit currency through cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) official with  knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

The terrorists were also giving funds to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir using the cross-LoC trade route in order to stoke unrest in the Valley, the official claimed.

Last week, India had suspended the cross-LoC trade at two points for an unspecified period, following reports that it was being misused by elements from across the border to smuggle weapons, narcotics and fake currency.

The LoC trade across ChakanDa-Bagh and Salamabad was meant as a confidence-building action for the people living in J&K and in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Originally hailing from Kashmir valley, the terrorists have been identified as Basharat Ahmed Bhat, Shabbir Illahi, Showkat Ahmad Bhat, Noor Mohammad Ganai, Khurshid, Imtiyaz Ahmed Khan, Amir, Sayeed Ajay Ahmed Shah alias Aizaz Rehmani, Mehrajuddin Bhat and Nazir Ahmed Bhat.

They operate from Islamabad and Rawalpindi in Pakistan or Muzaffarabad in PoK and run businesses ranging from almonds, dry fruits to mangoes as part of their modus operandi to send money to the Valley on behalf of ISI, the NIA officer cited above added.

The NIA probe revealed that these terrorists have set up firms in Pakistan and their kin or allies on the Indian side ostensibly run the business through LoC trade routes.

A second official said, Mehrajuddin Bhat, a resident of Tral, had crossed over to Pakistan to train as a militant about a decade ago. He stays in Rawalpindi and has set up “Mehrajuddin Traders” to get involved in the cross-LoC trade, the official said.