August 2000 News

Hizbul Headed For A Split

20 August 2000
B. Muralidhar Reddy

Islamabad: Does the decision of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen to declare a ceasefire and revoke it later indicate a split in the militant organisation? Yes, if an analysis in the weekly, Friday Times, is to be believed. The article by the Consulting Editor of the paper, Mr. Khaled Ahmed, has argued that there was nothing surprising about divisions in the militant outfits waging ''jehad'' (holy war). ''Now that the Hizb has decided to go its own way under Commander Majeed Dar, further splits are being feared on both sides. It is said that Dar was able to announce the ceasefire after ''breaking'' a number of commanders belonging to the clique of Syed Salahuddin, which forced the later to accept the ceasefire on the pain of being without any following.'' ''But the Kashmiri side of the Hizb too is under pressure. One split that has happened among the Kashmiris is the revolt of Commander Masood of the Pir Panjal regiment. He has declared that he will not abide by the ceasefire and will continue to fight,'' Mr. Ahmed said in his piece. He said the rapid pace of developments, beginning with the announcement of the unilateral ceasefire to its revocation had led to speculation in Pakistan that the split in ''jehad'' had been engineered by the ISI because the Musharraf Government ''wished to bring India under international pressure before the Musharraf- Vajpayee meeting in New York'' in September. In another development, reports from Karachi said that the authorities had stopped Maulana Masood Azar, who was freed from an Indian jail in December last in exchange for the passengers of the hijacked IA plane, from speaking at an anti- India rally and banned him from the Sindh province for three months. Maulana Azar had broken up with the Harkat-ul-Ansar after his release and had floated a new outfit - Jaish-e- Mohammad. The reports said he was stopped on Saturday when he was on his way to Sukkur to hold a ''jehad'' rally.


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