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Lashkar openly pledges to 'liberate' Kashmir

By Rezaul H Laskar
March 24, 2010 03:57 IST

Leaders of Pakistan-based banned terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen have called on supporters to wage a 'jihad' or holy war for the liberation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The terrorist leaders pledged to wage a jihad to "free" Jammu and Kashmir during a rally held in Kotli, a town in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, on Tuesday.

Among those who addressed the gathering were senior LeT commander Abdul Wahid Kashmiri and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

Kashmiri said the LeT would continue to support the Kashmiri people "until they achieve freedom from India".

He told the gathering: "It is the religious obligation of mujahideen to fight invaders and oppressors across the world."

In his address, Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jihad Council, said: "The only way to liberate Kashmir is jihad."

He said "diplomacy, talks and negotiations" over the past few decades "have not worked".

Leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, declared a front for the LeT by the UN Security Council, also attended the rally. A resolution adopted at the rally said: "Jihad will continue until India ends its occupation of Kashmir." About 5,000 people attended the rally in Kotli, located about 80 km from Islamabad.

They shouted slogans like: "We are ready for jihad." Salahuddin also claimed that the terrorist groups were not behind attacks within Pakistan.

Terrorist groups based in PoK had maintained a low profile over the past few years. However, there has been a marked spurt in their activities in recent months.

Tuesday's rally was organised to mark Pakistan Day, the anniversary of the adoption in 1940 of the Pakistan Resolution, which called for the creation of a separate country for the Muslims of the subcontinent.

India has asked Pakistan to take action against LeT founder and JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who it has described as the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan has maintained that there is no evidence that would allow it to prosecute Saeed.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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