Hizb terror tag seen as ‘unreasonable’
By Mohammad Shehzad
ISLAMABAD: The US on April 30 added Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) to its lists of “terrorist groups”. The new second tier list of 38 “other terrorist groups” issued by the State Department acts as a watch list for the first-tier list of “foreign terrorist organisations (FTOs)” on which the US imposes sanctions.
The US decision has baffled the HM leadership as well as the Pakistani political pundits.
HM was not declared a terrorist outfit after September 11. What had it lately done that made the US proceed against it?
According to the press officer at American Embassy, Terry White, the world had changed since September 11. There was zero tolerance for premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
The Indian government, which has not labelled HM as such, is yet to respond “officially” to the US decision.
HM is known for opposing suicide attacks and operations against civilians. Unlike other jihadi outfits, its statements are not venomous and outrageously anti-US. It has regretted the US move. It called upon the Bush Administration to withdraw the “prejudiced decision”.
Pakistan too, like India, has refrained from taking a position on the US decision. Perhaps it does not want to jeopardise the recent peace initiative by taking a pro-HM stance.
Pakistan has demanded proof from the US of its decision. “If they have any evidence against the listed organisations, they must tell us and we will take action,” Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat told reporters. Speaking to this reporter, General (r) Talat Masood—a defence analyst—said, it was unfair to bracket HM with terrorists. “No evidence has so far proved Hizb’s involvement in civilians’ killing. It has been struggling purely for Kashmir’s freedom. The US act shows that it is not prepared to differentiate between terrorism and freedom struggle,” he said.