Once a poster boy of Kashmir militancy, Mast Gul declared villain by Hizbul
Once a poster boy of Kashmir militancy, the acts of Haroon Khan, known by his nom de guerre 'Mast Gul' have been described as "awful" by indigenous militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, which has declared him "an expelled member".india Updated: Feb 27, 2014 19:49 IST
Once a poster boy of Kashmir militancy, the acts of Haroon Khan, known by his nom de guerre 'Mast Gul' have been described as "awful" by indigenous militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, which has declared him "an expelled member".
"We want to make it clear that Major Mast Gul has nothing to do with the Hizbul Mujahideen. He was expelled in 2001," Hizb spokesman Salim Hashmi said in an e-mail to the Hindustan Times from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
"It is awful and shameful act to try and harm the shining character of Hizbul Mujahideen by this name," he added
The militant outfit's move to distance itself from Gul and his acts has come just days after his name figured in the attacks carried out by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in Pakistan's Peshawar areas.
Gul's group has also claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the Pakistan Hotel in Peshawar. Several civilians, including minority Shias, were killed in these attacks.
"Pakistani nation and the leadership support the Kashmir movement. We, the Kashmir mujahideen not only pray for the stability of Pakistan, but are virtually fighting the war of Pakistan on our own land," said Hashmi.
The outfit claimed that an armed resistance movement in Kashmir "will remain at the back of the political movement for the attainment of right of self-determination promised to the people of Jammu and Kashmir by the international community."
"Hizb is not involved in any militant activity against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It's unlawful and un-Islamic to attack Pakistan," he added.
Pakistan authorities have declared Gul a "most wanted terrorist".
Gul, a resident of Khurran Agency, shot to international fame when he was holed up at Kashmir's prominent sufi shrine Chrar-e-Sharief in central Kashmir's Budgam district in 1995.
It took the army almost a month to clear the town of holed-up militants. Around 20 gunmen were killed and a few detained, while Gul made a spectacular escape, which remains a mystery till date.
The widely-revered shrine was gutted in one of the prolonged sieges Kashmir witnessed during the past two decades.
There were rumours of a deal being struck by the security agencies with the militants. However, senior officials including CD Sahay, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, privy to the Chrar-e-Sharief stand-off, denied the same.
The mysterious escape of Gul made him an instant hero among the militant supporters in the valley with his posters surfacing on walls. His cap, hair style and attire became a uniform for years together for militants.
However, after the 9/11 terror attack, there were rumours that Gul lost his leg in a landmine blast while fighting foreign troops in Afghanistan. He also owned a car showroom in Peshawar and was a well-known business there only before joining the TTP a few years ago.
First Published: Feb 27, 2014 19:46 IST