Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has stepped up anti-India propaganda following the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani will strengthen the jihad in the state.
Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawah, declared a front for the LeT by the UN and the US, has been using social media to push the Pakistan government to play up the unrest in Kashmir and to back “freedom-loving” Kashmiris.
Saeed, for whom the US has offered a $10 million bounty, joined Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin for funeral prayers organised for Wani at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Sunday.
A brief video of Saeed’s speech at the gathering, shared on social media, features him saying that Wani’s death will strengthen jihadi forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
“After Burhan’s martyrdom and the martyrdom of many others, I expect the jihad in Kashmir will rise with strength. The scene will change completely,” Saeed said, speaking in Urdu.
“Allah will help you, and will make your steps strong. Allah is going to kill kafirs and make all their efforts go waste,” he added. Saeed eulogised Wani and warned “many more Burhan Wanis” will wage war against India.
Saeed, whose group is on a “watch list” of Pakistan’s interior ministry, was more restrained in a three-minute video posted by the JuD on its official Twitter account.
The video, titled “Situation intensifies on martyrdom of Burhan Wani”, features Saeed delivering a message to “Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Muslim brothers and sisters”.
“We ask the Pakistan government and all political parties to take advantage of this situation and immediately declare openly that they will support forces working for Kashmiri freedom,” he said in the video, speaking in Urdu.
“Even if there have been good statements from the Pakistan government and the foreign ministry, the way the movement (in Jammu and Kashmir) has started within a few days, I believe Pakistan should take up the passion of the Kashmiris in the right way,” he added.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office had referred to Wani as a “Kashmiri leader” and described his death as an “extrajudicial killing”.
Saeed further said in the JuD video: “I appeal to everyone and to justice-loving people to take notice of this problem, to stop the Indian oppression and prevent the actions of the Indian Army, remove it from there so that there is peace in the region and the Kashmir issue is resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”
The LeT, which was blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was once one of the most active terror groups in Jammu and Kashmir. It sent hundreds of Pakistani fighters to the state.