Several banned jihadi groups, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, today opposed Pakistan's move to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.
Leaders of the groups, including Muttahida Jihad Council chairman Syed Salahuddin, told a gathering of hundreds of supporters at Aabpara Chowk in Islamabad about their movement to "liberate" Jammu and Kashmir.
"We will continue our struggle on the political, diplomatic and, most important of all, jihadi fronts till the last Indian soldier leaves Kashmir. We will continue till Jammu and Kashmir becomes independent," said Salahuddin, who is also the chief of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
A spokesman who addressed the gathering on behalf of LeT commander Iftikhar Haider said his group would take "revenge" for the killing of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express cross-border train. "The relationship between Pakistan and India is one of guns and bullets, not of trade," the LeT spokesman said while opposing the granting of MFN-status to India by Pakistan.
The gathering was held in a market located less than two kilometres from the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency in the heart of Islamabad. Jihadi leaders, including Salahuddin and Al Badr Mujahideen leader Bakht Zameen, too opposed Pakistan’s decision in principle to grant MFN-status to India.
Salahuddin claimed bilateral relations could not improve and Pakistan could not confer MFN-status on India as long as Indian troops remained in Jammu and Kashmir. Several leaders of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and other groups also addressed the gathering that was organised to mark the "Youm-e-Siah" (Black Day). The day is observed across Pakistan on October 27 every year to protest the entry of Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947.