Syed Salahuddin designated global terrorist: How much does he matter in the Valley?

The Hizb is not just the largest militant outfit, it is also credited with the resurgence of militancy in recent years – slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani was the outfit’s operations chief in the Valley and was instrumental in promoting militancy in Kashmir.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar | Updated: June 27, 2017 4:44 pm
Syed Salahuddin, kashmir, hizbul mujahideen, kashmir, kashmir valley, us global terrorist, indian express news File photo of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

s before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s met with President Donald Trump, United States declared Mohammad Yousuf Shah, the Pakistan-based chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen, a global terrorist. A politician-turned-militant commander Shah, known by his alias of Syed Salahuddin, has been on India’s most wanted list for a long time.

While the US declaration could put Pakistan in a tight spot –a native of central Kashmir’s Budgam, Salahuddin is based in Pakistan – the declaration may not have a major impact on the ground in the Valley, where the local leadership appears to be well entrenched.

Salahuddin is the chief of the Valley’s largest indigenous militant outfit, the Hizbul Mujahideen, and by virtue of it he is also the chairman of the United Jihad Council (UJC) – an umbrella group of militant outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir. Though the outfit maintains links with militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), unlike them it has no global agenda thus far.

In fact, recently Salah-ud-din had warned the people of Jammu and Kashmir to stay away from the influence of global terror outfits like the Islamic State (IS) and al Qaeda. Instead, the militant outfit and its political patrons like the Hurriyat Conference have always pinned their hopes on the intervention of western powers – the United States to European Union – for a resolution of the Kashmir issue.

In the Valley, the Hizb is not just the largest militant outfit, it is also credited with the resurgence of militancy in the Valley in recent years – slain Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani was the outfit’s operations chief in the Valley and was instrumental in promoting militancy in Kashmir. Since his death last July, the Valley has been frequently disrupted by clashes between security forces and local outfits.

In the light of renewed militancy in the Valley, the declaration of Salahuddin as a global terrorist might be seen as a major diplomatic win for New Delhi and pave the way for the government to deal with militants without many questions being asked by the West.

However, though Salahuddin is the “supreme commander” of Hizb, currently there is little coordination between the Pakistan-based Hizb leadership and the militants in the Valley. Operational decisions are taken by the local commanders and at times in defiance of the Salahuddin-led central command of the outfit. Local Hizb commander Zakir Musa’s recently said that militants are fighting for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, contrary to Hizb’s position. His outburst against the Hurriyat which the Hizb distanced itself from led Musa to threaten to disassociate himself with the latter.

The US decision on Salahuddin could strengthen the lobby that identifies itself with the militants like Zakir Musa. Any such ideological shift in Kashmir militancy would also mean that Kashmir could attract international outfits like the Islamic State – which would not be good news for either the Indian state or the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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  1. H
    Jun 28, 2017 at 3:32 am
    Pakisthan is a world islamic terrorists supporting failed nation. From today the US AIDS should stop to Pakisthan B'cause they use this huge amount to aid the islamic terrorism and also in Pakisthan so many islamic terrorism organisation fund by Pakisthan government and the military and tha ISI terrorism organisation intellegence islamic groups. Pakisthan is a country and Ben Laden the world most wanted terrorist was hiding (supported by Pakisthani government PM and the President of Pakisthan, ISI and the military of Pakisthan all cashed the ben Laden in pakisthan for more than 12 years. Now American government and the President of USA Mr.trump understand that Pakisthan is a muslim terrorism supported country as well. Thanks India.
    1. C
      Jun 27, 2017 at 10:22 pm
      What would be the difference on announcing as global terrorist, as stated in america , 1 --- No American will deal any thing with him.... 2-----His all assests in America are ceased . India will call him terrorist as per his policy..... All these have no concerned for the freedom struggle movements in the valley. Because already they are not accepting the India s doctrine of attot ang and freedom strugglers are terrorist, and freedom struggle of independence is going in advance. So it is analysed, that there will be no effect on this movement, but it will be better chance for more force full struggles.
      1. R
        Raj Parwani
        Jun 27, 2017 at 8:24 pm
        Whenever you shun someone you create a vacuum so you need to understand who is gonna fill that vacuum and what kind of plans you have to tackle that force. Look at recent history, when you shunned Saddam Hussein, vacuum was filled by Al Qaida, which was far worse them him then you went against Al-Qaida and next thing you found that you are fighting against ISIS which is 10 times more extremist and lethal than Al-Qaida. So, this might be a bad strategy in the long run, cause this guy was trying to keep the outfit moderate, once he is out of the picture more radical leadership might take over. This guy was always open for talks next guy may not want any negotiations with India. There was a reason why Obama administration didn't do it, I have zero confidence on Trump administration that they might have seen beyond the obvious.
        1. S
          Sadanand Mahale
          Jun 27, 2017 at 5:31 pm
          Our PM s visit is yielding good reults which is evident.
          1. I
            Jun 27, 2017 at 7:50 pm
            The RESULTS would have been FAR GREATER had Indian Parliament passed a resolution before PM going to USA, DECLARING PA-KI-STAN a TERRORIST STATE STOPPING all VISA, BUS, TRAIN, PLANE, BUSINESS, BOLLYWOOD, MUSIC, BILATERAL SPORTS including CRICKET etc etc with PA-KIS. ............. It's a SHAME that INDIA wants USA and many more countries to sanction PA-KIS for ISLAMIC TERRORISM while INDIA is carrying on "BUSINESS as Usual" with PA-KIS.
          2. A
            Jun 27, 2017 at 5:25 pm
            Its not about India man It's global problem The Radical ISLAMIC terrorism is the world problem and it will not end till people not understand the real problem is in the religious teachings.
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