HISTORY teaches us a lesson that the US always ditched Pakistan. They have done it again. To appease Indian Prime Minister Mr Modi, USA has designated Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salah-ud-Din, the freedom fighter for Kashmiri people, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Since 9/11 attacks in 2001, Syed Salah-ud-Din is the only Kashmiri freedom fighter to make to that infamous list. It is in continuation to the prologue of US President Donald Trump where at an “Islamic” summit in Riyadh he earmarked India as a victim of terror and completely ignored Pakistan, its “front line state” a major non-NATO ally, despite ranking fourth in the Global Terrorism Index of most affected states.
Though the move by the American is more Symbolic in nature and the only concrete thing coming out of it would be that Syed Salah-ud-Din will not be able to travel to the USA or maintain any assets there; which I doubt he would be interested in. Nelson Mandela, Yasir Arafat, and Gulbadin Hikmatyar had also been termed as terrorist by the US in the past only to retreat their claims later. So, I think that Syed Salah-ud-Din would be a rather happy man with getting in league with such great freedom fighters. Moreover, Mr Modi was also banned from travelling to the US a few years back on his “alleged” involvement in Muslim massacre during Gujarat riots of 2002. In short, US list of “terrorists” keep on changing with the changing scenarios.
Furthermore, American leverage in the Asia is fast deteriorating especially after the formulation of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) of which both Pakistan and India have recently been granted full membership. Nonetheless, this gesture of taking Indian line should jolt the Pakistani leadership and National Assembly session should be called to review the relationship with the US. The US policy makers must realize that Pakistan is fully committed to integrating herself into the new geopolitical compulsions and such irrational decisions by the US are hasting her departure from the USA camp.
US should also realize that Pakistan has fully functional courts which cannot condemn anyone just because US or India think that way. The decision of declaring Jamat-ud-Dawa’s chief Hafiz Sayeed and placing a bounty of $10 million on his head has made little difference in Pakistan’s handling of Hafiz Sayeed where he has always been acquitted by the Pakistani courts on the non-existence of any proof against him. The case of Syed Salah-ud-Din is likely going to see the same fate.
It would have been better for the US to visit annals of history before reaching such a decision, which is presumed to be merely guided by the financial gain that the USA is assuming to get by pleasing India. Syed Salahuddin or any Kashmiri pursuing the right to self-determination is not a terrorist because this right is promised to him by the UN Security Council of which USA was the major player and even nominated her Admiral Chester W Nimitz as Plebiscite Administrator.
The Pakistani Federal Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan statement that Washington is “speaking India’s language” on Kashmir is well received by the public. Another support came from Pakistan’s “all-weather friend” China, saying that Islamabad was at the frontlines of the fight against terrorism and that” the international community should give full recognition and affirmation to Pakistan’s efforts in this regard.” However, statements coming out of India are becoming more threatening. Indian Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat’s remarks that India is ready for taking on both China and Pakistan is the point in case.
Kashmir is at the crossroads and never in its 70 years history of the conflict, Kashmiri youth have shown so much love and affiliation for Pakistan. Kashmiris have picked up Pakistani flags and their martyrs are being buried in Pakistani flags. If our leadership failed to show boldness, imagination and a vision of future, we may miss the opportunity for peace and resolution of this decade-old dispute. We may also push the region to the brink of nuclear war, death, devastation and human misery.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Manchester, UK.