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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Pakistan says global terrorist tag on Syed Salahuddin ‘unjustified’, will continue to back Kashmir struggle

Pakistan’s foreign ministry reiterated its “political, diplomatic and moral support” for the Kashmiri people’s “right to self-determination”.

world Updated: Jun 27, 2017 23:31 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Syed Salahuddin is the head of the Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen.
Syed Salahuddin is the head of the Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. (PTI file)

Pakistan on Tuesday described as “completely unjustified” the US designation of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist and reiterated its political and diplomatic support for the Kashmiri people’s “right to self-determination”.

A statement issued by the foreign office a day after the US declared Salahuddin a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” said the “indigenous struggle of Kashmiris” in Jammu and Kashmir is “legitimate”.

The statement, issued in response to a question, made no reference to Pakistan-based Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jihad Council, or the US but was clearly a response to Hizb chief’s designation by the US state department ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is completely unjustified,” the statement said.

The foreign office also trotted out Pakistan’s long-standing argument about the country’s “demonstrated and longstanding commitment of combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”. The Pakistani people and government, it said, had made “immense sacrifices” to fight terror that had been acknowledged by the world community.

The statement extended strong support to the separatist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir that has left thousands dead since 1989. It accused the Indian government and security forces of rights violations and repressive policies in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Despite this relentless state terror, the Kashmiris remain undeterred and unbowed,” it said.

The statement also referred to what it said was “an intensification of the brutal policies of repression” over the past year, including the blinding of Kashmiris by pellet guns, “extrajudicial executions”, “use of human shields” and undocumented disappearances.

“Pakistan shall continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support for the just struggle of the Kashmiri people for the realisation of the right to self-determination and the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN security council resolutions,” it said.

India accuses Pakistan of arming, training and funding militants active in Kashmir, a charge denied by Islamabad.

Meanwhile, the president of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Mohammad Masood Khan, said in a statement that a “Trump-Modi nexus” could spell disaster for regional peace.

Khan, who retired from Pakistan’s foreign service as a career diplomat, said the US had always “deceived” Pakistan and its latest decision was another example of this. “The US has never acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices despite the latter being a frontline state in the war against terrorism,” he said.

He questioned the justification of the US designation, saying the Hizbul Mujahideen had struggled solely for the “freedom” of Jammu and Kashmir. Salahuddin was not linked to any terror group and had not resorted to any action outside Jammu and Kashmir, he claimed.

Pakistan’s media extensively covered Modi’s visit to the US and many analysts described it as a challenge to the Pakistani leadership.

“We expect that the Trump administration will take a hard line against Pakistan following this visit by Prime Minister Modi,” said analyst Zafarullah Khan on Geo News. Political commentator Mujibur Rehman Shami added the visit “was a failure of the Sharif government’s foreign policy”.

First Published: Jun 27, 2017 16:36 IST

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