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India worried over today's 'terror' meet in PoK

Last updated on: February 04, 2010 15:34 IST

While India and Pakistan are preparing to tone down the heightened tension amid them during the forthcoming South Asian Association for Regional Corporation summit, in which Home Minister P Chidambaram is likely to take part, anti-India Jihadi organisations are organising a meet in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

India is concerned over the 'terror' meeting, a first since the 26/11 attacks, and believes that the banned extremist organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Hizbul Mujahideen may use the gathering at Muzaffarabad to plan the next big attack on its territory.

However, former Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence chief Hamid Gul has rejected New Delhi's apprehensions, saying it should learn to distinguish between terrorists and ''freedom fighters''.

"Why should we worry about India? The meet is for a very important human cause. If India feels unhappy about it, let them. It's high time that India feels unhappy. The Pakistan government is aware of it. We don't have to clarify everything with India. Pakistan has the right too. Pakistan and India have to make distinctions between terrorists and freedom fighters. India has to understand that this is a freedom movement," Gul told private television channel, TimesNow.

PTI adds: The JuDĀ -- the front of LeT which carried out the Mumbai attacks -- held a conference of radical groups in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Thursday to express solidarity on the Kashmir issue, its first major public event after lying low for months due to the scrutiny of its leaders in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

The 'Yakjaiti-e-Kashmir' (Kashmir Solidarity) conference in PoK capital Muzaffarabad, organised by the JuD was addressed by several leaders of jihadi and radical groups, sources said.

Various top jihadi leaders including Hizbul commander Syed Salahuddin, Jammat-ud-Dawa , the front face of the banned LeT that carried out the 26/11 attacks, leader Abdul Rehman Makki are expected to attend the meeting on Thursday.

There is no information over whether the JuD chief Hafeez Muhammed Saeed would attend the meeting or not.

The conference is beingĀ held after a gap of several years, as such gatherings were not permitted by authorities after former military ruler Pervez Musharraf clamped down on 'jihadi' groups following an assurance to New Delhi that Pakistani soil would not be used for anti-India activities.

JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid, who was in Muzaffarabad to participate in the conference, said the organisation would hold a series of conferences and rallies in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day, which is observed on February 5.

JuD chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed will address a prayer congregation and a conference in Lahore on Friday, Mujahid said.

Earlier reports had said that Saeed, a key accused in the Mumbai attacks, would address a meet in Islamabad.

Senior JuD leader Abdur Rehman Makki will deliver a sermon at a Friday prayer congregation in Rawalpindi then lead a rally to the Aabpara area in Islamabad.

There will also be a public meeting at Aabpara, where the radical Lal Masjid is located.

Since 1990, Pakistan has observed February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day. The day is also a national holiday.

In the past few weeks, the JuD has also resumed issuing statements to the media via e-mail on behalf of jihadi and radical organisations.

The release of such statements had virtually stopped following intense focus on its activities over the past year.

Recently, the JuD issued two statements on behalf of a grouping of radical organisations that asked the Pakistan government to expel the Norwegian ambassador following the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed by a newspaper in Norway.

Members of Falah-e-Insaniyat, a front for the JuD, too have stepped up their activities like the collection of donations across Pakistan, including the federal capital.

Following the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani leaders like Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the JuD had been banned.

Top JuD leaders, including Hafiz Saeed, were detained or placed under house arrest only to be subsequently released.

During the hearing of a case related to Saeed's detention in the Lahore high court last year, the government admitted that no formal notification was issued to ban the JuD.

Source: ANI