‘Contract Killer’ Reveals ISI's New Strategy
1 February 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Dwindling local support to Pakistan-sponsored militancy has forced the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to hire ‘contract killers’ and push them into Jammu and Kashmir to sustain the militancy. This information came to fore during interrogation of one such ‘contract killer’ Mohd Irfan Khan, who hailed from Rawalpindi, Pakistan and was arrested after his infiltration from the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector recently. Quoting the interrogation report, official sources told EXCELSIOR that the ‘contract killers’ were being picked- up by the ISI sleuths from the poor families of remote villages by luring them with huge monetary benefits. 'After training in arms, the ‘contract killers’ are infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir for a period of two years for which they are given Rs two lakh before launching and another Rs two lakh on safe return', they said. In case a ‘contract killer’ is killed by the security forces, his heirs are paid Rs three lakhs. This amount is, however, applicable to only Pakistani militants. In case of Afghani and Sudani ‘mujahids’, they are being paid Rs 2500 per month besides ‘suitable rewards’ depending upon the number of killings, blasts and other subversive activities. According to information given by the ‘contract killer’ during his sustained interrogation, all active militants outfits were pushing the infiltrators in groups of 20 to 25 persons, out of which, the number of ‘mujahids’ is from 8 to 10. Remaining persons are porters and guides who carry arms and ammunition boxes and identify the routes for infiltration. In some cases when important militant leaders undertake infiltration, the size of the group increases. Some of the Pak army personnel also accompany the group when the militant leaders attempt infiltration. 'Each outfit uses infiltration routes cleared by the ISI. Although every outfit has particular infiltration routes allocated by ISI and trespassing in one another’s route is generally avoided, two or three different outfits share the same route, which are considered absolutely unexposed and safe. Routes witnessing encounters are avoided as far as possible', the sources said. To execute successful induction of militants and arms in the State, the ISI has also created a separate wing. Named as ISO, the wing has been entrusted the responsibility for successful execution of the policies formulated by the ISI to send guides, arms and agents in the Valley. The ISO also formulates a plan covering the guides, porters, launching camps, hideouts and mode of payments to guides and porters. Two ‘full guides’ and two ‘half guides’ control every launch of the militants. While ‘full guides’ are entrusted with the responsibility to reach upto the ultimate destinations, the ‘half guides’ are advised to accompany the group upto LoC. the logic of introduction of ‘half guides’ is to ensure the immediate replacement of ‘full guides’ in case the latter gets injured or falls sick. The ‘contract killer’ told the interrogators that each ‘full guides’ are paid Rs 25,000. While Rs 20,000 is paid by the outfit, whose activists the guide accompanies, Rs 5000 is paid by ISO. Payment to the guide, according to him, is made only after successful launching of men and material at hideouts in the State. Incharge of the hideout gives a receipt to the guide about safe arrival of men and material to the required destination. While each porter is paid Rs 7500 in cash per ammunition box, every ‘half guides’ is paid Rs 2000 only. The ISO also pays Rs 5000 in cash to every Kashmiri militant and Rs 10,000 to every foreign militant at the launching base. The ISO also bears the expenses of messing charges of all the group members upto the last Pakistani post. The payments to guides, porters and militants differ from outfit to outfit depending upon their performance and prevailing image among the ISI quarters. The ISI, according to sources, has issued crystal clear instructions that every ‘mujahid’ must carry with him, his weapons and ammunition, to ensure safe and secure entry in Indian territory. For communication purposes each group carries two walkie-talkie sets with them for maintaining regular communication with ‘chief launching commander’ (in PoK). 'Terrain along the LoC is so confusing that without the active support of some local guides and porters, it is extremely difficult for the Kashmiri militants and even more difficult for the foreign mercenaries to cross the LoC safely without getting lost or encountering the security forces', the arrested ‘contract killer’ said during the interrogation. He also admitted that people living along the border belt had been providing precise help to the militants in infiltration and further reaching their hideouts. 'Many of these people have relations residing on other side of the border and before the onset of militancy, smuggling of various items like liquor, sugar, drugs, salt, tea and Pakistani clothes by these people was quite common', he said, adding these people are quite used to crossing the LoC. Also, their tough physique make them ideally suited for the job of guides and porters for the militants. The currently active infiltration routes, as disclosed by the ‘contract killer’, are Rawta-Pak Pathra Behak-Rawta Gali-Dardpora leading to Rajwar and Ramhal sector, Shal Pathra-Camel Hump-Camel Gali-Dori-Rangwar Behak- Budnambal leading to Rajwar and Trehgam sector, Shalabattu-Thanda Pani-Busawali forest-Nawan Gali-Gulgam-Helmatpora, Sonapindi-Lashdet- Muchhal-Mohri-Kalaroos-Lolab Valley. All these routes are in Kupwara district. The infiltration routes in Baramulla district are Chham- Chhulan-Maidana Behak-Pimple leading to Lachhipora, East Bump, Ghoretal Behak-Maiyan-Braripora, Khwaja Bandi-Silikot-Hathlanga leading to Nambla and Chhitibatti-Sumnawali-Chotali leading to Gulmarg. In Rajouri, the most active infiltration routes were Kanga Gali, Sarula Da Khas, Tarkundi Gali, Dadot, Ramgarh Gala, Dunga Gala, Sohna forest and Peer Badesar. The main infiltration routes in Poonch were Gagarian Gali, Kath Panhal, Kirni Gali, Shahpur, Bagial Dara, Lohara Gali, Chumbi Galu, Patri Gali, Sabra Gali and Bhimber Gali. Infiltration rotes in Jammu district were Khour, Jaman Bela, Beli Azmat, Makwal, Tawi river bed, Basantar, Octroi Post, Jogma Chak, Barota, Nandpur and Devika river.