Srinagar: Burhan Wani’s successor and present Hizbul Mujahideen commander for south Kashmir, Zakir Bhat alias Moosa has threatened Hurriyat leaders of death if they continue to call the Kashmiri struggle as political rather than Islamic, and “hinder the way of mujahideen”.

“Hum kuffar ko chooud kar pehley aap ko latkayain gay… Lal Chowk mein in kay galay katain gay…” the Hizb commander says in an audio clip that was shared on social media on Friday.

Zakir insisted that the 27-year-old armed movement in Kashmir is Islamic, not political.

He did not name any Hurriyat leader but called them “hypocrites”, asking them why they’re using mosques and other Islamic symbols and slogans if they believe that the struggle is political.

“We have been hearing it since our childhood Azadi ka matlab kay, La ilaha illalah or Pakistan say rishtay kya, La ilaha illalah. What do these slogans mean? If it is not Islamic struggle, why do you offer funerals prayers over militants? Why do you own them?” Zakir asks.

“You are our big problem… if you have to run this dirty politics, run it in your homes… if we have to implement the Shariah, we have to implement it on ourselves.”

Zakir, also a native of Tral town like Burhan, took over from the latter after his death on July 8 last year. Before picking up arms, he was studying an engineering course in a Chandigarh college where he is believed to have lived a carefree life.

“I am not an ulema (sic), but the scholars here are corrupt… fearful of tagoot that they may be imprisoned, that is why we have to come forward,” he says, quoting a verse from the Qur’an.  “They are actually political leaders and they can’t be our leaders,” he says.

He insists against pinning any hope on international bodies like the United Nations.  “We don’t want kufr in the name of hikmat (wisdom),” he says, adding that the “unity on Tawheed is needed”.

“Our fight is purely for the sake of Islam, and we shall implement the Shariah in Kashmir, inshaAllah,” Zakir says in the five-and-a-half-minute audio clip.

Zakir’s statement, probably the first of its kind released by any commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in the nearly three-decade-old Kashmir insurgency, comes two days after senior resistance leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, iterated that the Kashmiri movement was purely political and had nothing to do with global Islamic militant groups like the ISIS and al-Qaeda.

The audio message, in a video format, was full of quotes of Islamic scholars like Abdullah Azam, known for his ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, Abu Bakar Bashir of Indonesia and Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, the US-Yemeni scholar and al-Qaeda ideologue who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

These quotes, while disparaging nationalism and democracy, praise unity in the name of Islam and Khilafah.

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