Kashmiri leader urges Pakistan to lift Islamist groups ban
Hizbul Mujahideen has urged Pakistan government to lift bans against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), blamed for organising Mumbai terror strikes, saying these groups were not responsible for attacks.Updated: Feb 05, 2009, 08:44 IST
Around a dozen Kashmiri militant groups gathered publicly on Thursday to urge Pakistan to lift bans against the Islamist organisation, India blames for the Mumbai attacks and its political arm.
"We appeal on the government of Pakistan to lift the ban against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) because no Kashmiri jihadi organisation was involved in the Mumbai attacks," Syed Salahuddin, head of the militant Hizbul Mujahideen, told the gathering of around 1,000 people.
It was the first public meeting of militant groups in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir since 10 gunmen killed 165 people in Mumbai in November. The attacks severely strained relations between India and Pakistan.
New Delhi blamed the attacks on the banned militant group LeT, but the Pakistan-based organisation has denied responsibility.
Salahuddin, who heads an umbrella organisation of 15 Kashmiri militant groups, said the attacks were against the code of the United Jihad Council.
"It is against the ethics of the United Jihad Council to attack unarmed people and women," Salahuddin told the crowd, which included members of banned groups JuD, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Al-Badr.
Salahuddin strongly condemned the ban on LeT and JuD and criticised the Pakistani government for imposing it.