August 2017 News

US Terms Hizbul Mujahideen A Foreign Terror Outfit, Seeks To Choke Its Funding

16 August 2017
Times of India
Chidanand Rajghatta & Neeraj Chauhan

Washington DC: A day after US president Donald Trump called PM Narendra Modi to greet him on India's Independence Day, the US designated Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen, responsible for terrorist attacks in J&K for the last three decades, as a 'foreign terrorist organisation'. The labelling of Hizbul as an FTO means the outfit will face financial sanctions. The Trump administration's previous decision to designate Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin a 'global terrorist' came just ahead of Modi's meeting with the US President in Washington in June. The announcement is also read as a sign of US-India proximity on strategic issues at a time when India is locked in a tense military face-off with China and is facing a daily dose of threatening statements from Beijing. The action against Hizb also indicates that the US does not support China's efforts to protect terror groups sustained by Pakistan against international sanctions. The US designation of Hizbul Mujahideen as a 'foreign terrorist organisation' seeks to deny it the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks, the State Department said in a media note announcing the move.Among other consequences, it said, all of HM's property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group. The move comes ahead of a widely-awaited review of South Asia strategy -involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India -which Trump will preside over on Friday at Camp David with vice-president Mike Pence and the National Security team. The US decision is seen as an act of solidarity with India in its fight against terrorism and jihadi outfits operating out of Pakistan with the support of the Pakistani army and ISI. The decision, as in the case of Salahuddin, acknowledges India's arguments that the Hizbul and its leaders are terrorists rather than 'freedom fighters' as claimed by Pakistan and separatists in J&K. Hizbul is now in the same list as Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram or other Pakistan-based anti-India terror outfits such as Lashkar-eToiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.India now has a strong chance to push its case for designating Syed Salahuddin and Hizbul Mujahideen as 'global terror outfits' in UN Security Council.