Days after separatist leader Yasin Malik was convicted by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on terror funding charges, Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday backed the chairman of the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), calling upon world leaders to take note of what he said was India’s ‘mistreatment of political prisoners’ in Jammu and Kashmir.
“World should take note of Indian govt’s mistreatment of political prisoners in IIOJK. Conviction of prominent Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik on fake terrorism charges is futile effort 2 silence voices critical of India’s blatant human rights abuses. Modi regime must b held 2 account,” Sharif, who, last month, succeeded the ousted Imran Khan as Pakistan’s PM, wrote on Twitter.
Last Thursday, Malik was convicted by the NIA court after he pleaded guilty to charges related to terror funding, spreading terrorism and secessionist activities in the Kashmir Valley in 2017. The court also asked the NIA to assess the financial condition of the 56-year-old to determine the amount of fine that could be imposed on him.
The quantum of punishment, as well as the fine, will be announced on May 25. Malik, on May 10, pleaded guilty to all the charges against him. He faces the maximum punishment of a life term for the offences he has been convicted for.
The case pertains to a conspiracy by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and separatist leaders, among others, to raise, receive and collect funds domestically and from abroad through illegal channels, including hawala. These funds were used for separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The NIA, which said its probe established Yasin Malik’s involvement in terror activities in the Union territory, registered a suo motu case in 2017, and, in January 2018, filed a charge sheet against more than a dozen accused.