Salahuddin’s status now same as that of Osama Bin Laden once upon a time: Pakistan would have to decide if it can afford to treat him as a guest
GN Bureau | June 27, 2017
The USA declaring Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a specially designated global terrorist may not take the sting out of terrorists’ plans in Kashmir immediately but it has given a huge setback to Kashmiri separatists who had always hoped for American intervention in the Indo-Pak standoff on the Kashmir.
Salahuddin, whose real name is Mohammad Sayed Yusuf Shah, was a religious preacher till the late eighties and had even contested the 1987 assembly elections unsuccessfully. The 71-year-old ideologue has been based out of Pakistan right from the day Hizbul Mujahideen came into being as a pro-Pakistan militant outfit comprising Kashmiris in the beginning of the insurgency in the valley. The emergence of Hizb, which launched itself by killing pro-India Kashmiris, had upstaged the pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in the early nineties.
Interestingly, sources say, Salahuddin may not even know how to open fire, for he remains a figurehead for the ISI’s use. He may not even have absolute control on the activities of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir though he sends recorded video edicts to Kashmir for propaganda purposes.
Only yesterday, a video clip in which he was seen exhorting Kashmiris to launch a week-long shutdown to mourn the killings of ‘mujahids’ was circulating on Kashmir’s social media. He was uncomfortable reading from a prepared text with an unidentified bearded man keeping close watch on him.
The US action has dashed the Kashmiri insurgents’ hopes of US mediation. It also serves to project the Kashmir imbroglio as a terrorism issue and not that of a freedom struggle.
Practically, the US declaration means the Trump administration can take strong action against people sending money to Salahuddin or Hizbul Mujahideen and will choke their sources of funds. However, Hizbul was never dependent on expatriates for funds as it was directly funded by the ISI.
But his continued presence in Pakistan as the government’s guest will be hugely embarrassing for Islamabad now. He stands in the same league as Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden once stood.
Meanwhile, Salahuddin’s wife and five children continue to live in their mud house in Soibugh village of Budgam district in central Kashmir. His only daughter is a schoolteacher and the sons are in government service.
Contrast prime minister Narendra Modi’s first Independence Day speech in 2014 with his latest, the first in the second term, and you know the difference. His first speech was less about future and much about the basic needs like Swachch Bharat (clean India). His speech on Thursday, on the other hand,
With Mumbai city battling myriad civic issues and annual flooding year after year, stakeholders and experts came together to discuss ways of dealing with these issues as community work. The discussion was held at the TEDxVersova Salon- Vibrant Civic Participation, an independent TED event organized by the
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort for the first in his second term, prime minister Narendra Modi highlighted the new beginnings his government has made in recent days, and underlined the hopes of a new India in the making. “Things that could not happen in the past
India has told China that the legislation changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir was “an internal matter. External affairs minister S Jaishankar, visiting China Monday, told foreign minister Wang Yi that the legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-ec
When considering climate change, one of the greatest threats before the humanity, discussions usually focus on air and water, but land too is affected by and in turn affects global warming as much as those two elements. A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), out early Augus
To revive bus ridership, the BMC-run Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) reduced its bus fares in Mumbai to minimum Rs 5 for non-AC buses as against Rs 8 earlier for the first five kilometres and capped maximum fare at Rs 20. For its AC buses the minimum fare has been brought down from Rs 20