Washington, July 1: The US State Department has said that the designation of Hizbul Mujahideen leader and United Jihad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist does not reflect a change in the US policy on Kashmir, a media report said today. “Our policy on Kashmir has not changed,” said a State Department spokesperson when asked if the designation indicated a change in the US policy on Kashmir, which Washington sees as a disputed territory, reported Dawn News. Hours before a meeting between Donald Trump and Narendra Modi on June 26, the State Department declared Salahuddin a “specially designated global terrorist”. The designation order claimed that in September, 2016, Salahuddin “vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley ‘into a graveyard for Indian forces’”. The reference to the need for “a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict” and the description of the territory as “Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir,” — although largely ignored in Pakistan — was noted by opposition parties in India. In an earlier statement to Dawn, a State Department spokesperson had said that Washington saw Kashmir as a dispute that needed to be resolved peacefully. “The pace, scope, and character of any discussions on Kashmir is for the two sides to determine, but we support any and all positive steps India and Pakistan can take to forge closer relations,” the spokesperson added.
Salahuddin says ‘idiotic’ US ban will not affect K-struggle
Muzaffarabad, July 1: Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin on Saturday said the “idiotic” US decision to designate him a “global terrorist” will not make any difference to the legitimate struggle for freedom of Jammu and Kashmir, a media report said. Salahuddin was reacting to the US State Department’s announcement designating him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), at a press conference at the Central Press Club in Muzaffarabad, Dawn online reported. Earlier, he received a warm welcome in the city and at many spots people showered rose petals on his vehicle. The Hizbul chief, in his traditional appearance, emerged out of the sunroof of his vehicle and waved to the crowd and made the victory sign. At the presser, he termed the Donald Trump administration’s move as “idiotic” and taken to “please and satisfy” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “without any reasoning and grounds”. He was designated as ‘global terrorists’ hours ahead of a meeting between Modi and US President Donald Trump. “We have slapped this idiotic step back on the face of both leaders to make the world understand that this foolishness can neither weaken our resolve, nor stop the freedom struggle and the target-oriented actions by the freedom fighters,” he said at the crowded press conference. “Wars are fought with courage and spirit that makes you use even a stone as an atomic bomb,” he said, referring to the stone pelting by youths in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the US and India could not quote a single incident to prove that the Kashmiri freedom fighters were terrorists. “This decision will cast no effect on our determination. Rather it has already strengthened our resolve,” he added. Salahuddin claimed that even the American laws themselves did not support Trump administration’s decision. “It does not meet a single of the conditions for designating anyone as a global terrorist,” he said, while reading these conditions from his cell phone. “This is a challenge from Syed Salahuddin,” he said and added: “You cannot quote a single example, which can be defined as an act of terrorism which I have myself committed or ordered to be committed during the last 27 years of the uprising.” Salahuddin claimed that Kashmiri militants did possess the ability to hit Indian interests anywhere in India, but “we exercised restraint, so that India does not get an opportunity to gain favour of the international community and brand our legitimate and lawful struggle as terrorism.” It was the Indian army that was committing terrorism in Kashmir, he said, Dawn reported.