Militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir and US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan are brazenly raising funds and recruiting potential fighters in cities and towns of Pakistan.
Al-Badr Mujahideen, a breakaway faction of Hizbul Mujahideen group, organised a two-day ‘Shuada Conference’ in the Swan Adda area of Rawalpindi on Sunday to seek recruits and raise funds.
The group’s chief Bakht Zameen Khan told 1,000-plus supporters at the conference that his commanders have sought resources to keep the ‘jihad’ going in Kashmir and Afghanistan.
“Our commanders in Kashmir and Afghanistan say they will carry out big attacks if they are provided with resources. They have the spirit but they are facing a shortage of supplies.”
The group’s supporters from Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir attended the conference where Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) and Al Badar Mujahideen had set up stalls to sell propaganda CDs and ‘jihadi’ literature.
Entry for journalists was restricted.
Mid-level leaders from Hizbul Mujhiadeen, HIA, Jamaatud Dawa and other militant groups spoke at the conference.
Bakht Zameen condemned the reopening of Nato transit routes. “We were very happy when the routes were closed. But the rulers gave in to the US pressure,” he claimed. “The government should not side with infidels because it will create anarchy in the country,” he added.
He quashed the impression that ‘jihadi outfits’ were doing the bidding of Pakistan’s security establishment. “We should quell such propaganda. Our financiers have withdrawn their support following harassment. But still we have sympathisers,” he added.
The terrorist label
Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin told the conference that Pakistan has been encircled by the United States and its Nato allies.
“Pakistan is the target of the US-Israeli nexus. Our fighters are defending Pakistan at a time when its geographical boundaries, its security and Islamic identity are at risk,” he said.
Salahuddin condemned the killing of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks. “We are fighting in Kashmir. It doesn’t matter to us if we are labelled terrorists. We are proud to be called terrorists for fighting the US and its allies in Afghanistan,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2012.