The roots of religiosity-inspired civil disobedience within the Kashmir Valley of India’s state of Jammu & Kashmir (J & K) can be traced back to the mid-1980s, when a proxy war between the overwhelmingly Sunni Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the overwhelmingly Shia-majority Islamic Republic of Iran was being waged on a global scale. It was at this time that Pakistan’s Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence two distinct Jihadi Tanzeems—Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM) headed by Fazlur Rehman Khalil and the Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) headed by Qari Saifullah Akhtar—that were the principal suppliers of Jihadi Mujahideens (sourced from Pakistan’s Punjab province’s eastern and southern areas) destined for Afghanistan. By 1989, the JuM and HuJi were vectored towards J & K by the ISI, with ideological support emanating from Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party. This is clearly borne out by the videoclip below:
By late 1990, the Pakistan Army as a whole had been taught to believe that if a non-nuclear Pakistan could win a low-intensity conventional war against the nuclear WMD-armed USSR, then the same kind of success could very much be achieved against India as well. While studying at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, then Col Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had written a strategy paper dealing with how the Afghan and allied Mujahideen from across the globe defeated the USSR and how Pakistan had played its hand in managing the war in such a manner that it did not provoke a total war with the USSR. He later studied for a year at the Hawaii-based Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and it was there that a now Brig Kayani used to ‘educate’ his fellow coursemates about Pakistan’s plan to capture J & K by applying the lessons learnt from the Afghan Jihad. All this has since been explained in greater detail in this book:
Pakistan’s grand designs for wresting J & K away from India received a shot in the arm in the early 1990s with the outbreak of the civil war in Yugoslavia, when countries like Iran, and Malaysia in particular, decided to get involved in total violation of UN-mandated sanctions. Malaysia’s gameplan was to finance the armed insurrections of the Muslim Bosnians and Christian Croats against the Slavic Serbians, hoping that after the end of the civil war, the newly-independent countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia would reward Malaysia with lucrative post-war reconstruction projects worth tens of billions of US$. Consequently, Malaysia’s then Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, contacted Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock, Chairman of publicly-listed Perwaja Steel, to mobilise RM3 billion for financing the civil war effort in favour of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. While this was done, Malaysia had one problem: how to source and supply weapons to these two countries. This is where the ISI stepped in not only with logistical expertise, but also with manpower supply options.
Accordingly, Lt Gen Javed Nasir (https://tribune.com.pk/story/256199/islamabad-refuses-to-hand-over-ex-isi-chief-to-bosnia-tribunal/) who served as DG of ISI from March 14, 1992 till May 13, 1993, did the following: 1) He merged the HuM and HuJI to form the Muzaffarabad-based Harkat ul-Ansar. 2) He created two new training camps for this Tanzeem, with one at Zhawar Kili near Khost, and another at a 200-yard by 200-yard mud fortress along a river basin in Asadabad, Kunar province, where Pakistan-origin cadres of the HuA, along with mercenaries from Dagestan, Chechnya and Uzbekistan were trained in guerrilla warfare techniques that were to be applied inside both J & K and rump Yugoslavia. 3) He used the finances provided by Malaysia for running these two camps, as well as for procuring the NORINCO-developed and Dr A Q Khan Research Labs-assembled Red Arrow-8 (Baktar Shikan) ATGMs and Pakistan Ordnance Factories-produced RPG-7 LAWs meant for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. In addition, few thousand RPG-7 rounds and a few hundred launchers ended up with the HuA for use inside J & K.
Even after Lt Gen Javed Nasir’s dismissal from the Pakistan Army, these activities continued under the stewardship of succeeding ISI DGs Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi (from 1993 till 1995), Lt Gen Ehsan ul Haq (from October 7, 2001 till October 6, 2004) and Lt Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (from October 7, 2004 till November 27, 2007). In addition, as part of a quid pro quo, Pakistan was rewarded by Malaysia through contracts being placed for the supply of Baktar Shikan ATGMs and Anza Mk.1 (Chinese QW-1) shoulder-launched MANPADS for the Malaysian Army.
However, Malaysia ended up as the nett loser in this whole affair, since the expected post-war reconstruction contracts from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia never surfaced, which in turn led to Perwaja Steel becoming bankrupt, and Tan Sri Eric Chia being declared a traitor and scamster by the largely ignorant Malaysian citizens. More about all this can be read here:
I came to know about the behind-the-scenes siphoning off of Perwaja Steel’s financial assets (on the instructions of Tun Dr Mahathir) sometime in mid-2007 when I had a chance encounter with Tan Sri Eric Chia at the Sheraton Subang Hotel in Malaysia’s Selangor State, during which the Tan Sri at last revealed to me the real story behind Perwaja Steel’s financial woes. Like a true patriot, he never went public with all that he knew about this sordid affair for as long as he was alive.
As for the HuM and Fazlur Rehman Khalil, the former is now known as the Ansar-ul-Umma, and is part of the Muzaffarabad-based United Jihad Council, while the latter was mainstreamed way back at the beginning of this decade. Since then, both, along with the JI, have been deeply involved in creating religiosity-inspired faultlines inside J & K, details of which are given below.