MUZAFFARABAD: Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM) supreme commander Syed Salahuddin said on Saturday that United States had declared him a global terrorist to appease India.
Addressing his first press conference at the Muzaffarabad’s Centre Press Club after being declared a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the US State Department on June 27, Salahuddin said the declaration was a joint move by the US, Israel, and India to express their animosity towards Pakistan.
Salahuddin alleged that the Islamic State (IS) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were being backed by India, Israel and the US to weaken Pakistan. “We condemn all actions of the IS and TTP. They are both agents of Trump, Modi and Israel,” he added.
The HuM chief said Indian Prime Minister Narendar Modi’s hands were soaked with the blood of 2,000 Muslims, referring to the deadly 2002 riots in Indian Gujrat when Modi was the chief minister of the state.
“Modi was even banned from travelling to the US and now the world is astonished at how the same butcher of Gujrat has been given a red carpet welcome in Washington,” said Salahuddin. “This is obviously a stain on the face of US democracy.”
He further said the US refused to appreciate Pakistan’s role in the war against terror and keeps demanding it to “do more.”
“Despite Pakistan’s role on the front-line in the war on terror, the US ignored it and signed a deal to provide F-16 jets technology to India,” said Salahuddin. “Similarly, the US builds pressure on Islamabad to close its nuclear programme, while it signs a nuclear deal with India.”
Rejecting the US declaration of his terrorist status, Salahuddin said it was “a big lie” to declare a freedom fighter a global terrorist.
“The US cannot provide a single example of when I and other Kashmiri fighters committed any act of terrorism,” he said. “Kashmiri freedom fighters have a code of conduct to not harm minorities, the elderly, children and women, and if sometimes the enemy offers a peace deal, we accept it.”
“There are the examples of when Indian army soldiers surrendered before Kashmiri freedom fighters and we did not kill them, instead we sent them back home with travel allowances during the 1990s,” he maintained.
The leader further claimed that they had the capability to launch attacks inside India but never chose to do so because that would provide New Delhi with the chance needed to malign the mujahideens’ struggle for freedom.
Salahuddin said the Kashmiris’ struggle was justified and had been accepted by the world since 1947. “The ongoing armed struggle is as per UN rules, so we are not terrorists,” he said.
“Kashmiri freedom fighters are innocent. If the US wants to declare anyone a terrorist, it should be the Indian army which has been committing crimes against humanity in Indian-occupied Kashmir under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act,” Salauhuddin added.