January 18, 2020
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"The Hizbul Leaders Have Betrayed The Jehad"

Qazi Hussain, chief of Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami, considered the de facto political parent of the Hizbul Mujahideen, has outright rejected the latter's ceasefire offer. Mazhar Abbas spoke to the Jamaat leader in Lahore. Excerpts:

"The Hizbul Leaders Have Betrayed The Jehad"

Your party has always supported the Hizbul. Why are you now rejecting its ceasefire offer?
They took the decision on their own and didn't take us into confidence. Why they did not consult leaders in Kashmir or Pakistan is a mystery. They knew very well that we have high stakes in Kashmir. They should have told us. We've been betrayed.

Does the offer have anything to do with your US visit?
I told you we were not informed beforehand. So there is no point in linking my visit with their decision.

Why do you think the Hizbul could betray you?
It hurts me most. They not only ditched me and my party but the whole jehad in Kashmir.

Will the Hizbul decision affect the jehad in Kashmir?
India certainly succeeded in creating differences among the freedom fighters. But as far jehad is concerned, it will continue. Such a big movement cannot stopped.

But the truce has come from your militant wing, the most powerful group in Kashmir.
The Hizbul Mujahideen is not the product of the Jamaat. We gave them shelter in the '90s when they came to us. Now they've forgotten all we did for them.

Will you forgive them if they withdraw the offer?
We've lost faith in them. But if they apologise for what they did and want to rejoin the jehad, no one can stop them. Today, they are considered traitors in the eyes of the freedom fighters.

Thousands of your party workers have been fighting along with the Hizbul. Will they continue in the party?
No one will work with them as we no longer trust them.

Did you discuss Kashmir with US officials?
Yes, I told them about Pakistan's stand and that jehad can't stop unless India accepts its part of Kashmir as disputed territory and accepts that Kashmiris have a right to self-determination.

Will Hizbul leaders withdraw the ceasefire after they have been condemned by all other jehadi parties?
They've no choice as there won't be a ceasefire. But one thing is certain. These leaders will now have no place to go since people now hate them. They let us down and should be ashamed.

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