Syed Salahudeen, the chief of Hizbul Mujahideen – a Kashmiri separatist group that is designated a terrorist organisation by India, the European Union (EU) and the US, has threatened to wage a nuclear war against India over the Kashmir issue.

In a statement issued a couple of days ago, Salahudeen said that Pakistan should be prepared for a ‘fourth war’ with India, as it is the moral and political duty of Islamabad to provide substantial support to ongoing freedom struggle in Kashmir. He also said that as Kashmiri people are not ready to compromise, Pakistan should help Kashmir become a separate nation.

The Hizbul leader categorically said: “Our base camp in liberated Azad Kashmir (read Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir – PoK) and the Kashmiri people from this side will announce the trampling of the bloody Line of Control. After that there will be no bloody line, no ceasefire line, no international rules and no consideration for the UN observers. Bleeding Kashmiris will come from that side, these Kashmiris will go from this side, and God willing a decision will take place on the bloody line.”

As expected, India condemned Salahudeen’s statement and asked the Nawaz Sharif government in Pakistan not to allow the terror outfit to trigger fresh tension in the region. In New Delhi, Indian Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the Hizbul chief has no authority to speak on Kashmir.

The Indian minister also slammed Hizbul and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD, another banned Pakistan-based terror outfit) for accusing India of triggering the recent terror attack in Quetta. At least 93 people were killed and more than 150 injured when a suicide bomber triggered a massive explosion at the emergency unit of a civil hospital in Quetta on Monday (August 8). Although the Pakistani Taliban faction and ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast, the Pakistani terror outfits blamed India for the attack.

India’s National Investigative Agency (NIA), too, rejected the allegation, saying that Pakistan-based terror outfits have tried to destabilise the neighbouring country by launching attacks in major cities.

But, India has no such plan, added the NIA in a statement. The NIA also released a video of confessions made by Bahadur Ali, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist who was arrested by Indian security officers on July 25. During interrogation, Ali (alias Abu Saifullah) revealed that he was recruited by JuD and radicalised by the LeT. He also admitted that Pakistani Army personnel helped him enter India with advanced made-in-Japan ICom wireless sets, night vision devices and mobile phones. He told NIA officers that Pakistani military officers had come to meet him while he was leaving for India. Later, he was asked by his handlers from a control room, code-named ‘Alpha-3’ (located somewhere in PoK), to launch terror attacks in different parts of Kashmir ahead of India’s Independence Day (to be marked on August 15).

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]