MUZAFFARABAD (TIP): Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, on Wednesday praised last month’s terror attack at Indian Air Force’s base in Pathankot and encouraged similar attacks against India.

Addressing a rally of around one thousand people in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Saeed said: “800,000 Indian troops are committing genocide on Kashmiris. Don’t they have a right to carry out Pathankot-style attacks for their defence?”

Saeed also lauded Kashmiri militant leader Sayed Salahuddin, who heads the United Jihad Council (UJC) that has claimed responsibility for the attack.

“You have only seen one attack on Pathankot. Matters could easily escalate.”

Crowds at the rally shouted slogans including “The war will continue until the liberation of Kashmir” and “We are ready for jihad”.

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Strategic analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said Saeed’s praise of Salahuddin could be part of a “deflection strategy” to steer blame away from JeM, and by extension Pakistan, where it is based.

The airbase attack occurred just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Lahore, raising hopes for peace between the two countries.

Seven security personnel were killed and several others were injured when six militants, suspected to owe allegiance to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, stormed the Pathankot air base in first week of January.

Further planned talks between the top diplomats of both countries that had been due in mid-January were subsequently postponed.


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