April 2003 News

Hizbul Has A 'ghost' Commander

13 April 2003
The Statesman

New Delhi: The Hizbul Mujahideen's recent claim to have appointed Ghazi Naseeruddin as its new commander-in-chief after the killing of Saif- ul-Islam in a gun battle with the security forces is a hoax, sources said. The new commander-in-chief does not exist. The outfit could not keep its top post vacant. Hence, it did not waste time in releasing a code name, something it has done in the past too. The name was released from Muzaffarabad and Kashmir watchers in Srinagar are convinced that there has been no such appointment. 'It is an unheard of name in Hizbul; may be they will appoint someone in the near future and re-christen the person Ghazi Naseeruddin,' said a senior Kashmir observer. It is understood that Saif-ul-Islam's term as commander-in-chief was coming to an end (he had taken charge in December 2001) and Ghulam Rasool Dar who is posted in Muzaffarabad was to take over. But with Saif-ul-Islam being suddenly gunned down by security forces, Ghulam Rasool Dar may not be able to take charge immediately. If at all he makes it, sources said, it will be at least two months before he can infiltrate when the snow melts. Dar's appointment will be significant as he is a member of the supreme command council of Hizbul in Pakistan. The other contender for the post of commander-in-chief is the deputy chief commander of Hizbul, Abdul Ahad Bhatt.


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