Kashmir Is A Money Game: David Mulford4 September 2011
The Economic Times
New Delhi: David Mulford, who was American Ambassador to India, cabled the US State Department in February 2006, 'Kashmir politics is as filthy as Dal Lake'. Scores of cables of whistleblower website WikiLeaks has several instances explaining the vested interest of 'stakeholders' in keeping the Kashmir pot boiling. 'Corruption cuts across party lines and most Kashmiris take it as an article of faith that politically-connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan,' a cable noted. Giving an example, Mulford's cable alleged that a Kashmiri businessman told embassy officials that Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had acquired property in Dubai and the Kashmir Valley from payoffs done by intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan. The cable noted that some 'security officers bribe their way into Kashmir assignments that give access to lucrative civil affairs and logistics contracts.' Mulford's cable also referred to a newspaper report suggesting a 'retired minister for Irrigation and Flood Control' embezzled funds to construct two large homes in Srinagar. Money from Pakistani and Indian intelligence agencies and foreign extremists has distorted Kashmiri politics and incentivised leaders to perpetuate the conflict, another Mulford cable alleged. 'While this river of dirty money has led to a boom in Kashmiri household income and real estate prices, it also calls into question whether the Kashmiri elite truly want a settlement to their problems. The minute a deal is struck, some must surely worry that the funds will dry up,' the cable said. An April 2006, a cable from Mulford alleged that when JKLF's Yasin Malik asked people belonging to moderate separatist Bilal Lone's area to refuse government compensation (paid for every innocent killing), the latter told US officials that 'Yasin should give up 'a month of his Pakistani salary' to compensate families of boys killed'. The cable was based on the US officials' visit to Srinagar between April 3 and 5. In the same cable Mulford quotes PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti accusing New Delhi of reverting 'to its customary bad old ways' before the April 24, 2006, by-elections.