February 2016 News

Ahead Of 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', JuD Releases Video Featuring Pak Army Chief Raheel Sharif

3 February 2016

Srinagar: Indian security agencies have long been pointing out that terrorist organisations and separatist elements have been using social media to propagate their ideology. The latest controversial propaganda tool is a video titled 'Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan' (Kashmir will become a part of Pakistan). The video has been created by Dawa Productions, and has been posted on the Twitter page of JuD official videos, belonging to the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which has been declared by the United Nations as a terrorist organisation. While Pakistan has banned media coverage of the organisation in November, it has said that the organisation as such is not banned. Apart from the usual suspects like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Asiya Andrabi and Hafiz Sayeed, the video also features a photograph of Pakistan's army chief Raheel Sharif, along with an Urdu caption saying 'Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan,' as per a report in Hindustan Times. The video is part of a larger campaign launched by the JuD ahead of 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', which is observed on 5 February, as reported by news website Only Kashmir. On this day in 1990, major protests were held in Pakistan protesting Indian rule over Pakistan, after which the Benazir Bhutto-led government declared it as a national holiday. The video also shows Afzal Guru arrested by the police, and subsequently features a photograph of the Indian Parliament, even as an explosion is heard in the background. Afzal Guru has been repeatedly portrayed as a martyr by Kashmiri separatist organisations, particularly after he was hanged in secrecy for his role in the terror attack on the Parliament building in 2001. In spite of a ban on coverage of the JuD, its chief Hafiz Saeed on 4 January gave an interview to a media outlet from Pakistan, Channel 5 News. To a question on how Pakistan should react to the Pathankot terror attack, Saeed said, 'There should not be war. But the question is, who is waging this war?' Saeed also said that Kashmir looks to Pakistan (for help in resolving the conflict), and that Pakistan should not turn a blind eye to them. A video of this interview, too, is shared by the JuD on Twitter. Prof. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed talking to Channel 5 News on Saudia-Iran situation & *PathanKot Attack 4th January, 2016https:-t.co-32SHI5OKtj - JUD Official Videos (@JUDVideos) January 6, 2016 Hafiz Saeed's rhetoric, however is significantly stronger in public rallies than in interviews to TV channels. In a rally in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Saeed alleged that Indian troops are committing 'genocide' on Kashmiris, and said, 'Don't they have a right to carry out Pathankot-style attacks for their defence?,' India Today reported. The emergence of propaganda on social media has been worrying security forces for a while now. In July last year, an army officer was quoted as saying that social media has become a 'powerful medium' and that people are turning towards terror because of the lack of opportunities. In this context, the JuD's continuing propaganda is a source of worry for the Indian security establishment. Even as the organisation faces international condemnation, Pakistan continues to deny the group's terror link. Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, in a written statement in its parliament has said that it is 'engaged in charity and social work, operating hospitals, clinics, school, ambulance service and religious institutions', according to a report in Hindustan Times. With Pakistan choosing to turn a blind eye to the JuD, the organisation remains a challenge for India on the anti-terrorism front.