Yasin Malik (born 1963) is a separatist leader who advocates separation of Kashmir from India as well as from Pakistan . He serves as the Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. Since 1995, Malik has renounced violence and calls for strictly peaceful methods to come to a settlement on the Kashmir Conflict.
Yasin Malik came to the fore at the age of 21 as an activist of the Islamic Student League (formed 1986). He campaigned for the Muslim United Front (MUF) candidate Mohammad Yusuf Shah who stood for the Legislative Assembly elections in 1987 from Amirakadal, Srinagar. As the vote counting began, it became clear that Yusuf Shah was winning by a landslide. However, the opposing candidate, National Conference candidate Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah, was declared the winner. Yusuf Shah as well as Yasin Malik were arrested by the police and imprisoned until the end of 1987. Widespread rigging and "booth-capturing" in the elections were reported. The police refused to listen to any complaint. The National Conference-Congress alliance was declared the winner with 62 seats in the Assembly, and formed the government.
After release from prison, Yusuf Shah called himself "Syed Salahuddin" and became a guerilla fighter eventually becoming the commander-in-chief of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Yasin Malik crossed over to the Azad Kashmir to become a militant. He returned to the Kashmir Valley in 1989 as a core member of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), declaring his goal as the independence for the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Yasin Malik, along with Hamid Sheikh, Ashfaq Wani and Javed Mir, formed the core group — dubbed the "HAJY" group — of the JKLF militants returning to Srinagar with arms and training received in Azad Kashmir. They were said to have been "stunned" by the enthusiastic response to their call for independence in the Kashmir Valley. They waged a guerilla war with the Indian security forces, kidnapping of Rubiya Sayeed, the daughter of Indian Home Minister, and targeting attacks on the government and security officials. In March 1990, Ashfaq Wani was killed in a battle with Indian security forces. In August 1990, Yasin Malik was captured in a wounded condition. He was imprisoned until May 1994. Hamid Sheikh was also captured in 1992 but released by the Border Security Force to counteract the pro-Pakistan guerillas. By 1992, the majority of the JKLF militants were killed or captured and they were yielding ground to pro-Pakistan guerilla groups such as the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, strongly promoted by the Pakistani military authorities. Further encroachment by pan-Islamist fighters infiltrating into the Valley from Pakistan changed the colour of the insurgency. Pakistan is said to have ceased its financial support to the JKLF because JKLF did not support Kashmir's integration with Pakistan.
After release from prison on bail in May 1994, Yasin Malik declared an indefinite ceasefire of the JKLF. However, according to him, JKLF still lost a hundred activists to Indian operations. Independent journalists mentioned three hundred activists were killed. They were said to have been compromised by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen members, who informed their whereabouts to the security forces.
Malik renounced violence and adopted a Gandhian non-violent struggle for independence. He expressed a desire for a "democratic approach" involving the "true representatives" of Jammu and Kashmir. He offered political negotiations, but insisted they must be tripartite with both Indian and Pakistani governments and cover the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. This was unacceptable to the Indian government. In the Spring of 1995, Malik protested the holding of Legislative Assembly elections in 1995 and threatened to immolate himself. He contended that the Indian government has "thrust this election process" on the Kashmiris just as a display of democracy.
Yasin Malik's peaceful struggle was unacceptable to the leadership of JKLF in Azad Kashmir. At the end of 1995, Amanullah Khan, the co-founder of JKLF, removed Malik as the president of JKLF. In return, Malik expelled Khan from the chairmanship. Thus JKLF had split into two factions. Victoria Schofield states that the Pakistan government recognized Yasin Malik as the leader of JKLF, which further complicated the situation.
In October 1999, Malik was arrested by Indian Authorities under the Public Safety Act and was again arrested on March 26, 2002 under the POTA; he was detained for almost a year.
In recent times Malik has had one-on-one meetings with President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Prime Minister of India and other world leaders. In 2007 Yasin Malik and his party launched a campaign known as Safar-i-Azadi (Journey of Freedom). His journeys to meet some select world leaders was to create an atmosphere of anti-Indian sentiment among the public; which had lasted for over one year. During this time Yasin Malik and his colleagues visited about 3,500 towns and villages of Kashmir promoting an anti-Indian rhetoric and stance.
In 2005, a rival faction of Yasin Malik inside JKLF formed a separate organisation "JKLF(R)". Javed Mir is its convener.
In February 2013,Yasin Malik shared dias with 26/11 attacks mastermind Lashker-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed at a protest in Islamabad, which was condemned by many including Muslim bodies.
Malik had completed his graduation from S.P College Srinagar and also claims that most of his knowledge has been acquired by self-taught methods while he served his time in various jails. Malik loves the poetry of Allama Iqbal and the writings of Imam Gazali.
- Syed Ali Shah Geelani
- Hurriyat and Problems before Plebiscite
- Kashmir conflict
- Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, 2014
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- Bose 2003, p. 130.
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- Schofield, Victoria (2003) [First published in 2000], Kashmir in Conflict, London and New York: I. B. Taurus & Co, ISBN 1860648983