Kashmir terror outfit Hizbul Mujahedeen behind sheltering Osama in Abbottabad?

May 4th, 2011 - 2:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad, May 4(ANI): There are indications emerging that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was sheltered at the luxury compound in Abbottabad by Hizbul Mujahedeen- one of the militant groups that has enjoyed tolerance, if not support, from Pakistani security services.

A police officer familiar with bin Laden’s compound in the scenic town of Abbottabad said the location was used by Hizbul Mujahedeen, one of the biggest militant outfits in Kashmir.

“The place belonged to Hizbul Mujahedeen. But the authorities have asked us not to share any information about the exact ownership,” The Globe and Mail quoted the police officer, as saying.

Meanwhile, land-registry officials in Abbottabad- known in the local language as patwaris- were summoned to a meeting on Tuesday and urged to keep quiet on the issue.

“The patwaris are meeting right now,” a local official said, adding: “They are being instructed not to say anything about the land-ownership issue.”

American officials have described the owners as “brothers,” and neighbours recalled seeing a pair of men, possibly ethnic Pashtuns from the rugged western frontier, who largely kept to themselves, the report said.

Their names were reported in local media as Bara Khan and Chota Khan, or Arshad Pathan and Chota Pathan. However, “Bara” and “Chota” are common vernacular for “older,” and “younger,” making the names almost meaningless.

A Pakistani official said the mystery surrounding the two men has deepened with the discovery that their national identity cards were faked.

If the ownership were traced to HM, it would mark an unusual example of co-operation between the militant group and its more extreme cousin, al-Qaeda, the report said. HM has maintained a narrow focus on removing Indian forces from Kashmir, while Al-Qaeda pursues global ambitions.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of links between Hizbul Mujahedeen and Osama, but its members would probably admire him,” Stratfor’s South Asia regional director Kamran Bokhari said.

Like other groups fighting Indian troops in the borderlands, HM’s radical membership has never been rounded up by Pakistani forces, said the report, noting that some analysts say that Islamabad covertly supports the group.

Pakistan has denied any collusion with terrorists, saying that its leading intelligence service had been sharing information with US counterparts since 2009 about the compound where bin Laden was found.

Still, in the wake of the raid, Islamabad scrambled to ensure that precise ownership of the compound would not become public knowledge, and any link to HM would deepen Pakistan’s embarrassment over bin Laden’s death. (ANI)

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