Pakistan slams US naming Kashmir militant 'terrorist'

Pakistan on Tuesday rejected as "unjustified" the U.S. decision to declare the chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen group, Syed Sallahuddin, a "global terrorist".

"The designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is completely unjustified," Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said in a statement, adding that the 70-year-old indigenous struggle of Kashmiris in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir remained legitimate.

"The people of Kashmir cannot be denied the right to self-determination," he added.

The U.S. State Department announcement came ahead of the first ever meeting between President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Monday.

The State Department in its statement accused Sallahuddin of blocking " the peaceful resolution" to the conflict of Kashmir, and of threatening to turn the valley into "a graveyard of Indian forces".

"The gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people in IOK [Indian-occupied Kashmir] that have been recorded and reported by independent human rights bodies is a reality. Over the past year, the world has witnessed an intensification of the brutal policies of repression being pursued by the Indian occupation force," Zakaria further said. "This includes the full or partial blinding of over a thousand innocent Kashmiris through the use of pellet guns, rape as an instrument of state policy, extrajudicial executions, use of human shields by Indian occupation forces, arbitrary arrests, undocumented disappearances, humiliation of Kashmiris on a daily basis, the blowing up of their homes and the denial of their fundamental freedoms of movement, expression and opinion as well as religious freedoms," he went on to say.

He vowed that Pakistan would continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support for the just struggle of the Kashmiri people for the realization of the right to self-determination and the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. President of Pakistan-administered Kashmir Masood Khan also rejected the U.S. decision saying: "The group has been fighting for freedom in occupied Kashmir, and never been involved in any militant activity outside the held valley."

"Declaring a true freedom movement terrorism is a total negation of internationally recognized democratic and diplomatic values," Khan was quoted as saying by local ARY TV on Tuesday.

"America has always betrayed Pakistan," Khan added, saying an entente between Trump and Modi would be detrimental to world peace.
Syed Sallahuddin, 71, whose real name is Syed Yousaf Shah, has been living in Azad (liberated) Kashmir -- a term used for Pakistan-administered Kashmir in past years -- and is wanted by India.

New Delhi accuses Sallahuddin of training and sending youths to fight Indian forces in occupied Kashmir in collaboration with Pakistani spy agencies, whereas Islamabad says it just provides diplomatic and moral support to the freedom movement in the held valley, in line with internationally recognized principles.

The disputed Himalayan valley has been divided between Pakistan and India with both countries claiming it in full.

The two neighbors have fought three wars-two of them over Kashmir-since 1947 and Islamabad has repeatedly warned it would not refrain from using its nuclear arsenal in case of war with India.

Over 100 people, including troops, from both sides have been killed in border clashes between the two forces since last September following a militant attack on an army camp in occupied Kashmir that killed 19 Indian soldiers.
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