Washington: The United States now named Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri resistance group, as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, more than 50 days after adding its chief Syed Salahuddin to its list of designated global terrorists.
“Today’s action notifies the US public and the international community that Hizb is a ‘terrorist’ organisation,” the US State Department said in a statement. “Such designations expose and isolate ‘terrorist’ groups and individuals and assist the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments,” it said.
This is particularly important because even as the US has shown a willingness to target anti-India terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan, it had hesitated to show the same willingness for a Kashmiri terror group.
Particularly as the Hizbul Mujahideen, after remaining a depleted organization for most of the late 2000s, acquired a renewed vigour post-2012 and specifically after the turbulent period of mass protests in Kashmir between 2008 and 2011.
Therefore this designation matters, even if it makes little practical difference to the Hizbul Mujahideen activities in PoK and the valley. Syed Salahuddin, for instance, despite being designated as a global terrorist and under the radar of the Western intelligence agencies, still makes public appearances and continues to call for violence against India.
Among other consequences, all of Hizbul Mujahideen’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group.