Mubeen Shah was released after five months of incarceration, thanks to the efforts of Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in the new US administration
NEW DELHI — Sameera Fazili who has been picked as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council (NEC) in the new administration of President Joe Biden in United states is a cousin of Mubeen Shah, a Kashmiri businessman based out of Malaysia who was jailed by authorities in 2019 crackdown when Modi government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shah was released after five months, on December 6, 2019. His release was a rare case where the government revoked the Public Safety Act of anyone just five months after being detained in the mass crackdown.
The release came following a pressure on the Modi government from Washington and Fazili is said to have played a role behind the scenes; approaching lawmakers, officials and human rights groups.
According to a report in the Indian Express, Fazili’s father and Shah’s mother are siblings.
Fazili’s sister Yusra Fazili, a lawyer in the United States, was part of the panel that testified in the US Congress in November 2019 on the Kashmir siege. She talked about Shah’s incarceration in her testimony including how he was detained in a police raid at his home.
“My cousin was taken in a midnight raid. He is not a politician, he is not a dissident, he is not a freedom fighter, he is not even a kid throwing stones in the streets. He is just a businessman. His life’s focus has been to bring economic opportunity to Kashmir,” Yusra had said in her testimony. “His imprisonment sends a strong message to the people of Kashmir that money, status and family mean nothing in the face of Indian capriciousness.”
US Senator Pramila Jayapal had asked whether the State Department raised his detention with Indian government.
Shah, who would shuttle between Kashmir and Malaysia, has in the past been chairman of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Jammu & Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an influential trade body that overlooked the cross LOC trade between two parts of the divided Kashmir before India unilaterally stopped it in 2019.
After his release from prison Shah left the country for Malaysia and has not returned home. Instead he has become active on social media since then mobilising public opinion against the subsequent changes made by the Modi government vis a vis Kashmir.
In October 2020 the J&K Police said they had put out a look out notice against Shah on the accusation that he had written posts on Facebook that targeted non-local people living in Kashmir. He had vehemently opposed issuing domicile to non-locals urging the people to unite against what he called “settler-colonialism”.