A rally to condemn the United States’ recent decision to blacklist Hizbul Mujahideen as a ‘terrorist organisation’ was held in Pakistan-administered Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad on Thursday.
In an apparent reference to China, Shaikh Jamilur Rehman, secretary general of United Jihad Council (UJC), said the days of America acting as the ‘Big Brother’ were “numbered as another superpower, which supports the Kashmir cause, is on the rise.”
“You can withhold our properties and [bank] accounts if there are any [in the US], but you cannot force us to give up our legitimate struggle for freedom,” he said, according to the Dawn newspaper .
“We will carry on our struggle, which is in accordance with the UN Charter, until the eviction of the last Indian soldier from our motherland,” he vowed.
Rehman rubbished what he called “propaganda against Kashmiri separatist groups” as “an attempt to please the Narendra Modi-led Indian government.”
“Hizbul Mujahideen is an indigenous organisation, engaged in a legitimate struggle for the right to self determination enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions,” he said. “It cannot be dubbed as a terrorist organisation by any stretch of the imagination.”
Uzair Ahmed Ghazali, an organiser of the protest, regretted what he called the US turning a blind eye towards state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.
“The US is also silent on terrorism unleashed by fanatic Hindus and so-called cow vigilantes on Indian Muslims,” he added.
“If anyone has to be designated as a ‘terrorist’ in today’s world, it is Indian premier Narendra Modi and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu; but both are advancing their ghastly agendas under American patronage,” he said.
Ghulamullah Azad, a leader of the proscribed Jamaatud Dawa, termed the US decision “ridiculous” and said it would make no difference to the “armed struggle in held Kashmir.”
“First, they clamped a similar decision on Hafiz Muhammad Saeed; then, they did the same for Syed Salahuddin. However, the struggle in held Kashmir has not suffered a dent due to the exemplary determination of Kashmiri people … The latest decision will also meet the same fate,” he said.
The demonstrators chanted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans while condemning the US decision as they walked from Burhan Wani Chowk to Garhipan Chowk.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) had termed the decision to US decision to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as “saddening”.
Addressing a weekly media briefing, FO spokesperson Nafees Zakaria had said that Kashmiris’ struggle for their right to self-determination has been rightfully continuing for the past 70 years.
He had also noted that “Indian occupation forces have used excessive force against people in held Kashmir and they are continuing to do so.”