Unjustified, says Pak; Well deserved, says India
Islamabad/New Delhi: Pakistan on Thursday said it was “disappointed” with the US decision to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as a “foreign terrorist organisation”. She termed the move “completely unjustified”.
India on the other hand welcomed the US decision. A Home Ministry spokesperson said the move was long overdue and “well deserved”.
The US yesterday designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a “terrorist” group, nearly two months after declaring its Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin as a “global terrorist”.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, said during his weekly press conference in Islamabad, “The designation of individuals or groups supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is completely unjustified.” He said the US decision did not take into account “the 70-year struggle of Kashmiris.”
We are disappointed (with the US decision) in view of the fact that Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute with UNSC resolutions pending implementation,” he said.
He reiterated Pakistan’s “moral, diplomatic and political support to Kashmiri people’s struggle”.
Formed in 1989, Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in Kashmir. It has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision, which slaps a series of US sanctions on the outfit, came against the backdrop of an upsurge in the activities of the militant group in Kashmir in recent months.
Among other consequences, all of Hizbul Mujahideen’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group. The US decision marks a blow to Pakistan which has been projecting the militant group as a voice of Kashmiri people.
Zakaria was asked whether Pakistan would take up the matter with the US. He said that Pakistan tabled all concerns whenever meeting between the two sides was held.
He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “neither bullet nor abuse” comments validates Pakistan’s stance that the “only solution of Kashmir is through fair and free plebiscite.”
He also urged India to allow a UN fact-finding mission to probe into alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.