Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin today admitted of carrying out attacks on India, days after being designated a global terrorist by the United States, ANI reported. Salahuddin on his alleged involvement in the terror attacks said that it was not a crime if Pakistan paid for their arms and Kashmiri diaspora helped the militant group. In the interview to Geo TV, he claimed that Kashmir was his home. He said that he has been purchasing weapons from the international market and has a network wide enough to distribute them. A video grab of Salahuddin getting a VIP welcome in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, complete with flags and rose petals on his car protected by armed men was aired on July 1 by Times Now. This was about four days after the US Department of State announced the 71-year-old Mohammad Yusuf Shah aka Syed Salahuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). The statement mentioned the Kashmir attack in April 2017 where 17 people were injured. With this designation, Salahuddin’s financial backing and assets may be blocked or disrupted by the US.
The State Department statement said that the Executive Order imposes “sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a consequence of this designation, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Salahuddin and all of Salahuddin’s property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked.”
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PTI reported that Pakistan has been presenting Salahuddin as a “freedom fighter”. He had recently sent out a video message for a week-long agitation in memory of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who was killed by Indian security forces on July 8, 2016. According to ANI, Salahuddin said, “If we would have taken our operations out of Kashmir at that time [after 9/11], India would get a chance to label Kashmir-e-Tehreek a terrorist organization. We have support and we can target any place in India, at any time.”