We are still often told that Islamic jihadis represent a mere tiny minority of extremists, and that most Muslims reject and even abhor jihad terrorism. But Syed Salahuddin says that a majority of Pakistanis support his jihad against India, and why wouldn’t they? They read the same Qur’an and follow the same Muhammad that Salahuddin does. Also, there are persistent rumors that his group has links to the Pakistani government’s Interservices Intelligence (ISI).
“‘We’re still training Kashmiris for jihad,’ Hizbul leader claims,” by F.M. Shakil, Asia Times, February 10, 2018:
The supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Syed Salahuddin – a Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant who was declared a global terrorist by US authorities last year – appears quite determined to take the Kashmir struggle forward to its “logical conclusion,” come what may. While Pakistan is under pressure from the Trump administration to clean up its act, Salahuddin remains as defiant as ever.
The US move against Salahuddin and his Kashmiri militant organization looks to have had zero impact. Salahuddin, labeled a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ (SDGT), simply laughs the designation off.
“Pakistan has just ignored the Trump administration’s wrong-headed decision of terming a ‘freedom fighter’ a ‘terrorist,’” which violates United Nations resolutions and the US Constitution,” he tells Asia Times in an exclusive interview. “Pakistan knows very well that a ‘mujahid’ cannot be a ‘terrorist,’ [and therefore] continues to provide ‘moral’ and ‘diplomatic’ support to the forces fighting for the right of self-determination in Kashmir.”
His assertion reinforces India’s claims that Pakistani authorities have been lending support to militant outfits in the region.
Pakistan issued a fatwa known as ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan‘ (“Pakistan’s message”) on January 16 this year. It empowers only Pakistan’s federal government, rather than militant groups, to announce holy wars (jihad). Terming the decree a “blessing,” Salahuddin’s response is to suggest that the government use it to declare a holy war in Kashmir….
When the armed militancy erupted in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the 1980s, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a group of young Kashmiri men trained in Pakistan, played a leading role. As the Indian Army began to recover lost ground over subsequent years, the HM established itself as the most prominent Kashmiri militant group to operate in the Kashmir Valley. However, following major reverses, its influence waned, and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) began to emerge. Unlike the HM, the LeT had mostly Pakistani cadres….
There have been rumors of links to Pakistan’s Interservices Intelligence (ISI) and Jamaat-e-Islami, a conservative political party. Salahuddin denies these but hastens to add that a majority of Pakistanis support HM’s cause. “We have ‘spiritual bonds’ with Jamaat-e-Islami and share its religious and ideological perception, but other than that HM has no link whatsoever with Jamaat-e-Islami,” he says….