Militants suspend jihad to help relief efforts

  • AFP, Muzaffarabad
  • Updated: Sep 15, 2014 22:58 IST

An alliance of pro-Pakistani militant groups fighting in Kashmir announced on Monday that it was suspending jihadist activities to carry out rescue and relief for flood victims.

The umbrella United Jihad Council (UJC) was formed in 1994 and is widely believed to have close links to Pakistan’s military establishment.

Talking to AFP, Syed Salahuddin, the group’s supreme commander, accused the Indian government of not doing enough for flood victims in Kashmir.

“The Indian government is rescuing only tourists and their troops and the news about relief for the people of Kashmir by the Indian media is a pack of lies,” he said.

He also blasted the Pakistani government for not caring about the flood victims in Kashmir and termed it “criminal negligence”.

He said: “We have suspended all operations against Indian troops in Kashmir because we are working for the flood victims. I appeal to the UN, International Red Cross and OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) to help the flood victims in Kashmir, our fighters will volunteer for them.”

The UJC includes al Qaeda and Taliban affiliated Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad militant groups, which are on the US and UN lists of terror organisations.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full and have fought two of their three wars over its control.

Floods and landslides from heavy monsoon rains that began in early September have now claimed almost 500 lives in Pakistan and India.

Pakistan, which has suffered a series of annual flood disasters since 2010, says as many as 2.4 million people have been affected. The flood is currently passing through the country’s central Punjab province and is expected to reach impoverished southern Sindh over the next day.

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