Unable to carry out Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) diktat of creating unrest in Jammu and Kashmir lately, terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin reportedly faced the ire of his masters when he was attacked by unknown assailants in Islamabad on May 25, sources said on Friday.
Sources in the intelligence agencies said that Mohammad Yusuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin, who also heads the alliance of pro-Pakistan terrorist groups called the United Jihad Council, was “grievously injured in the attack and is undergoing treatment”.
Salahuddin has been declared a global terrorist by the US State Department.
“He was targeted near the Hizbul Mujahideen compound in Islamabad on May 25,” said a top intelligence agency officer. The attack was reportedly planned and executed by the ISI. It was not meant to kill Salahuddin, but to send a message to him and the members of his terror outfit that they were gradually becoming redundant.
The difference between Salahuddin and his ISI handler started ever since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in August last year.
Intelligence sources said that since Salahuddin or his outfit were clueless about the Indian government’s move to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the ISI had gradually started withdrawing its support to the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Further, sources said that ISI had also directed Salahuddin to carry out a massive attack in the Valley against the Indian government’s move, but he failed to deliver on that ground.
The sources said that when ISI started sending him messages of withdrawing its support, Salahuddin approached Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) leader Raja Farooq Haider and others.
He promised the ISI of carrying out attacks in the Valley, source said. In the meantime, ISI stoped providing adequate training, weapons and ammunition to the Hizbul cadres.
In addition, the lack of support to Hizbul in Kashmir weakened him further. But after the elimination of top Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo by the Indian security forces in an encounter in Kashmir earlier this month, Salahuddin went on the back foot, sources said. He openly criticised the ISI during an interaction with the Hizbul cadres in PoK.
Earlier in May, after Naikoo was killed, Salahudin had said that Indian security forces’ position in the Kashmir Valley was strong. A video of the him saying so had surfaced.
Salahuddin was heard saying in a gathering in Rawalpindi to mourn the killing of Naikoo that even after the killing of five security personnel, Indian security forces continued to be in a position of strength.
He was speaking in Urdu with a Kashmiri accent and could be heard saying, “It’s a shock for all of us (killing of Riyaz Naikoo) but these sacrifices are going on in Kashmir since long.”
He was heard saying that since January this year, 80 Mujahideens (terrorists) were eliminated by the security forces and all of them were highly educated and trained.
The intelligence agencies had stumbled upon the video recording of the gathering where Salahuddin could be seen ranting about the Indian security forces and singing praises for Naikoo.