Pakistan-based organisations hail Hizbul decision
8 August 2000
B. Muralidhar Reddy
Islamabad: Pakistan-based militant organisations engaged in fighting in Kashmir have welcomed the Hizbul Mujahideen''s decision to end its 15-day old ceasefire and said the move would give a further fillip to the ongoing ''freedom struggle.'' These organisations were angry with the Hizbul for its unilateral declaration of ceasefire and had dubbed it a ''betrayal of the freedom struggle.'' Not only was the Hizbul chief, Syed Salahuddin, removed as chief of the United Jehadi Council, an umbrella outfit of the militant groups, but the Hizbul was expelled as a member of the 17 member Council. The Jamaat-e-Islami, the most influential religious party in Pakistan, which faced embarrassment following the ceasefire has predictably applauded the latest decision and said ''Jehad (holy war) is the only solution to increase pressure on India''. Though a majority of its cadre are drawn from Kashmir on both sides, the Hizbul is considered close to the Jamaat-e- Islami. The ceasefire announcement that coincided with the visit of the JI chief, Quazi Hussain Ahmed, gave room to speculation in Pakistan that the move was the outcome of the parleys between American officials and Quazi Ahmed. Immediately after the Hizbul ceasefire announcement, Quazi Ahmed cut short his visit to the U.S. and returned to ''clear doubts and apprehensions'' about his organisation. He had accused the military government in Pakistan of having engineered the ceasefire. Three days ago, he was quoted as saying that the Hizbul would soon call off the ceasefire. Reacting to the withdrawal announcement, Quazi Ahmed said that ''we were against the ceasefire because we knew from the very first day that India is not sincere in resolving the Kashmir issue and will insist on talks within the framework of the Indian Constitution. I can assure that all the jehadi groups can stop jehad if India declares Kashmir as a disputed area, withdraws its forces and agrees to tripartite talks with Pakistan and the Kashmiris''. A spokesman of the Lashkher-e-Taiba said the holy war in Kashmir would gain further momemtum with the Hizbul decision. A leader of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen described it as a ''very wise move, otherwise the freedom struggle would have suffered a major blow.''