Pro-Pakistan terrorist outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen has come out in strong opposition to the Indian and Pakistani steps to set up joint mechanism against terrorism. He termed this as a ploy by India to paint Kashmiri "freedom struggle" as terrorism.
Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen Supreme Commander Syed Salaha-ud-Din has described it as a strategy of India to "eliminate the freedom struggle". He has asked Pakistan not to show any flexibility vis-à-vis India, for Delhi would try to make use of that to its advantage.
Hizb leadership's this stand, a week ahead of the Indo-Pak foreign Secretary level talks assumes significance, for there are many voices within the Valley opposing the joint counter-terrorism mechanism on similar grounds.
He has, however, come in support of some of the ideas incorporated in the ruling coalition partner Peoples Democratic Party's self rule.
Pakistan occupied Kashmir based supreme commander Syed Salaha-ud-Din, whose real name is Mohammad Yusuf-told a group of journalists in Pakistani city of Rawalpindi that the Indian President's powers to dissolve the state legislative assembly be withdrawn.
Syed Salaha-ud-Din is the topmost leader of Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen, the indigenous Kashmiri group. He has been in Pakistan occupied Kashmir since 1993, when he crossed over to undergo a treatment. He has not returned since. He has displayed a contradictory tendency of talking of dialogue and intensifying the use of guns alternatively. He also figures in the list of 20 most wanted, in which Dawood Ibrahim—the Mumbai underworld don and accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts sits on the top, given by India to Pakistan after the December 13, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.
His comments printed in Pak Tribune on Tuesday are akin to PDP's self rule proposals. The PDP, which is a major ally of Congress in the coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir, is also asking for the withdrawal of these powers from the Central government.
PDP wants that Article 356 of the Indian constitution that empowers the federal government to dismiss the state government should be rolled back as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned.
Salaha-ud-Din has also demanded that three separate provinces including Jammu and Ladakh be carved out.