Pakistan has expressed its displeasure over the US decision to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as a global terrorist organisation. Pakistan’s Foreign Office called the US decision as “saddening”, according to Dawn. At a press conference today, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said it is “unjustifiable” to declare organisations or groups fighting for freedom in Kashmir as terrorist output, reported Pakistan Today.
Zakaria said Pakistan is disappointed with the US decision on Hizbul Mujahideen. He also reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to keep on giving moral, diplomatic and political support to separatism in Kashmir.
In a report, Pakistan’s The News International interpreted the US decision on the terror outfit as “another indication of its (US) growing ties with India. The US decision came around two months after the US designated Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist.
The US Department of State has designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SGDT) under section 1(b) of the Executive Order 13224. The move comes as a big blow to the terrorist outfit operating out of Kashmir and helmed by Pakistan-based Syed Salahuddin.
A notification by the US Department of State says Hizbul Mujahideen, formed in 1989, is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in Kashmir. “Hizbul Mujahideen is led by Specially Designated Global Terrorist Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin. Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014, explosives attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people,” it said.
According to South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the largest terrorist organisations currently operating in Kashmir. It has a cadre base drawn from local and foreign sources. It is one of the 32 organisations banned under India’s Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002.