It is increasingly evident that each time the relations between India and Pakistan improve, India-focused jihadist groups from across the Pakistani border attempt to disrupt it with attacks in the Indian states of Kashmir, Punjab, and elsewhere. The inevitable aim of these is to upset the possibility of amicable dialogue between these two populous and nuclear-armed nations.
The latest example of this occurred in January when the high-profile Pathankot Air base in the Indian state of Punjab was attacked by militants. The United Jihad council (UJC, also known as Muttahida Jihad Council), based in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PAK), claimed responsibility for the incident. The attacks and ensuing gun battle at the strategically crucial Indian airbase went on for three days and killed 13 people, including seven Indian security personnel and six militants. UJC Spokesperson Syed Sadaqat Hussain has since threatened similar attacks elsewhere in the country while chiding the Indian establishment for its alleged Pakistan-phobia (Dawn [Karachi], January 4). Days later, the chief of UJC, Syed Salahuddin, also supreme leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, criticized the Pakistani government in a similar vein for its alleged stand in support of India, saying that "Pakistan is not just an advocate, but also a party to the longstanding Kashmir conflict" and that it "should play the role of a patron [to groups like UJC] rather than of an adversary" (Express Tribune, January 20). Salahudin’s comments were issued alongside the Pakistani government’s crackdown on the leaders and infrastructures of another constituent of UJC, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), as the group’s militants were suspected of being involved in the Pathankot attack.
Terrorism Monitor (Jamestown Foundation), Vol 15 ( 4), February 19, 2016
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