US ban on Hizb

The Trump Administration’s order to include Hizbul Mujahideen to its blacklist of terrorist organizations and freeze all its assets has caught many not only in Kashmir but outside also by surprise as why an organisation which is struggling against the illegal Indian occupation has been added to its blacklist. Freezing assets of Hizb seems a folly as there are no accounts of the organisation anywhere in Kashmir or outside. Despite the fact that massive protests in Kashmir have taken a new turn and Kashmiri women, children, old men and youths are on streets to protest against worst Indian state terrorism in which hundreds were killed.
It will be misleading to interpret the US Administration’s move to designate the Hizb as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ as purely a counter-terrorism initiative. A debate framed in these terms will miss the point by a mile. It is not as if the US administration suddenly woken up from slumber to the fact that an organization that has been struggling against suppressive military might in Kashmir for the last three decades is a ‘terrorist outfit’. It was not like that but clear to please Indian Premier Modi on his maiden meeting with President Trump and utilise him against Pak-China relations. In past it was pressing India to please Pakistan and now when China has emerged as an economic power and it has joined hands with Pakistan to build China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), India became more important for the US.
Instead of trying to search counter-terrorism motives of the US Administration’s move, one can easily interpret it as part of a series of well-coordinated steps to bolster India’s position on terrorism and security in India-Pacific region. This will help look the matter positively and make greater sense, because it is not a coincidence to notify the Hizb as terror outfit closely follows US announcement of a new two-by-two ministerial dialogue mechanism with India, to put defence and strategic consultations at centre of bilateral ties.
ISHFAQULLAH SHAWL
Islamabad

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