Jihad Will Revive In Kashmir In 2014: Hafiz Saeed, Salahuddin Tell Hurriyat Delegation

Jihad Will Revive In Kashmir In 2014: Hafiz Saeed, Salahuddin Tell Hurriyat Delegation

8 January 2013
Tehelka
Riyaz Wani

Srinagar: A delegation of separatists leaders from Jammu and Kashmir on a visit to Pakistan last month also met Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, who India has named as terror masterminds. The duo told a delegation of separatists from Jammu and Kashmir that armed militancy would revive in the Valley in 2014, TEHELKA has learnt. Saeed is wanted in India for several acts of terror, including the November 2008 attack by 10 Pakistani gunmen in Mumbai that left 174 people dead. While India has maintained that Saeed was behind the terror attack, the latter has denied the charge. Even Pakistan has expressed its inability to prosecute Saeed, citing lack of “credible” evidence. “Both Saeed and Salahuddin told us that militancy in Kashmir would escalate after the US-led international troops depart from Afghanistan in 2014,” one of the delegates told TEHELKA. The delegation also met Pakistan Army Chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who ruled out Islamabad’s support for armed militancy in Kashmir in the future. Kayani urged the separatists to work towards a consensus among themselves, while accommodating the views of the hardliners. While the meeting with Kayani in Islamabad was well-publicised, those with Saeed in Lahore and Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Salahuddin in Islamabad were kept private. Hizbul Mujahideen was one of the first outfits to have launched an armed insurgency in Kashmir. “Pakistani authorities believe that the Taliban insurgency would spill over into Pakistan and possibly into Kashmir,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who led the delegation. “Should this happen, they say, Pakistan would not be in a position to stop it.” The Pakistani establishment expects the fallout in the country of the exit of US forces from its northern neighbour to be messy and is wary of it. Following the 11 September 2001 terror attacks in the US, Washington had forced Pakistan to hold in check the militancy aimed at Kashmir in view of the war in Afghanistan for much of the last decade. With the coalition troops set to withdraw from Afghanistan next year, the Taliban is expected to make gains in that strife-torn nation. ”Saeed and Salahuddin think that with the US off their back, the militants would be in a position of command in Kashmir after 2014,” a Hurriyat delegate said. ”They say India won’t bargain sincerely unless armed militancy forces its hands.” The delegation of Indian Kashmiri separatist leaders visited Pakistan during December 16-28, 2012. It included Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Gani Lone, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Aga Syed Al-Hassan, Musadiq Adil and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza. They were visiting under the banner of the Hurriyat Conference, an amalgam of Kashmir-based separatist groups. The delegates also met with ISI chief Lt Gen Zahir ul Islam and had interactions at the National Defence Academy and the Pakistan Institute of Strategic Studies. The meetings with Saeed and Salahuddin were unscheduled and took place on the personal initiative of some leaders “with no government role in the matter”, a Hurriyat leader said. They were “short and focussed on the situation in Kashmir”. “Both Saeed and Salahuddin disapproved of dialogues between India and Pakistan,” he said. “They also said the war in Afghanistan had adversely affected the armed struggle for the liberation of Kashmir from India.” India claims Saeed runs the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a terror outfit that Washington forced Pakistan to ban shortly after the 9-11 terror attacks in the US. Saeed now heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which he claims is a social welfare organisation, but which India identifies as a front for the LeT. The meetings between the Hurriyat leaders and the alleged terror masterminds are significant as the two sides have long shared an ambivalent relationship. Pakistan-based Saeed and Salahuddin have often dubbed the Hurriyat as “moderate” and slammed them for engaging in “pointless dialogue” with New Delhi. This friction was blamed for the shooting of a separatist leader, Fazal Haq Qureshi, in 2009, after a meeting between Hurriyat leaders and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was reported.