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Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM)

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) is one of the largest terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir and stands for the integration of J&K with Pakistan. Since its formation the HuM has also wanted the islamization of Kashmir.

The HM was formed in 1989 in the Kashmir Valley with Master Ahsan Dar as its chief. Dar was later arrested by security forces in mid-December 1993. It was reportedly formed as the militant wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) at the behest of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's external intelligence agency, to counter the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which had advocated complete independence of the State. Many of the early Hizb cadres were former JKLF members.

In June 1990, the HM 'Constitution' was approved and Mohammed Yusuf Shah, popularly known as Syed Salahuddin, was appointed Patron and Hilal Ahmed Mir as Amir (chief). Apparently, differences between JeI elements and the non-JeI faction started developing within the HM which led to a split with one faction being led by Salahuddin whereas the other was led by Hilal Ahmed Mir (killed in 1993).

Hizb-ul-Mjuahideen is headquartered at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), and with an estimated cadre strength of at least 1500, is presently headed by Syed Salahuddin. The patron of HM in PoK is Ghulam Nabi Nausheri.

Ghazi Nasiruddin is the outfit's 'chief commander of operations' in the Kashmir Valley. He succeeded Saif-ul-Islam alias Ghulam Rasool Khan alias 'Engineer' Zaman, who was killed in a major counter-insurgency operation on April 2, 2003, at Nowgam Chowk, on the outskirts of capital Srinagar. Saleem Hashmi is the spokesperson of the outfit.

Currently, the HM is organised into five divisions: central division for Srinagar, northern division for Kupwara-Bandipora-Baramulla, southern division for Anantnag and Pulwama districts, Chenab division for Doda district and Gool in the Udhampur district, and Pir Panjal Division for the Rajouri and Poonch districts.

The Hizb reportedly has a substantial support base in the Kashmir Valley and in the Doda, Rajouri, Poonch districts and parts of Udhampur district in the Jammu region.

The HM has conducted a number of operations against Indian military targets in Jammu and Kashmir. The group also occasionally strikes at civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir but has not engaged in terrorist acts elsewhere.

The HM is closely linked to the Jamaat-e-Islami, both in the Kashmir Valley and in Pakistan. Overseas, it is allegedly backed by Ghulam Nabi Fai's Kashmir American Council and Ayub Thakur's World Kashmir Freedom Movement in the USA. The HM had established contacts with Afghan Mujahideen groups such as Hizb-e-Islami, under which some of its cadre is alleged to have received arms training in the early 1990s.

The HM is reported to have a close association with the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence and the United Jehad Council, and other terrorist organizations operating out of Pakistan. Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin also heads the UJC.

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