South Asia and Beyond

Who Is Mushaal Hussain Malik?

NEW DELHI: Chances are few would have heard of Mushaal Hussain Mullick until her appointment as special assistant on human rights to Pakistan’s interim Prime Minister Anwar ul-Haq Kakar. But those familiar with Kashmir and its politics would recognise her as the wife of Yasin Malik, JKLF leader now in Delhi’s Tihar Jail where he’s serving a life sentence in a terror funding case.

Malik and Mushaal married in 2009 in Pakistan, yes she is a Pakistani citizen and her mother was secretary-general of the Pakistan Muslim League, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party. According to journalists in Kashmir: Mushaal Mullick visited Kashmir once and was warmly received. It was a big deal for a separatist leader from Kashmir to marry the daughter of an influential Pakistani family, though she was always seen as a ‘trophy wife’.

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Her X web page is disabled but her Instagram page with over 6000 followers describes her as a human rights activist and “Chairperson Peace & Culture Organisation”. Both labels appear intended to serve one purpose: accuse India of human rights violations in Kashmir and hold anti-India rallies in Pakistan. Incidentally, she was actively trying to discourage G20 diplomats from meeting in Srinagar two months ago.

Mushaal has not been in India since her first visit and her background and activities would have been reason enough to deny her a visa. Does she aspire to something bigger than just holding anti-India rallies? Beating the anti-India drum goes down well in Pakistan, and it could well be that her appointment in the interim government lays the ground for something bigger.