The Pakistan government and India's most-wanted terrorist Hafiz Saeed issued statements eulogizing slain militant Burhan Wani. Their comments are largely seen as an attempt to stoke tension in Kashmir, which has been reeling under violence over the death of Wani.
More than 20 people have been killed and 300 injured in violent incidents following Wani's killing by Indian security forces in an encounter.
Saeed held a prayer meeting on Monday at Muzaffarabad Pakistan Occupied Kashmir for Wani. And, he reportedly appealed to Kashmiri people to raise their voice against the Indian government.
Saeed said the killing of the Kashmiris and firing at their funeral is the "worst form of terrorism".
"Kashmiris cannot be made slaves through use of force any more. We will continue to support the Kashmiris," he said.
Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba who carries a bounty of $10 million, lamented that the international community was not condemning the killings in Kashmir.
The prayer meeting was also attended by another most-wanted in India, chief of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Syed Mohammed Yusuf Shah, popularly known as Syed Salahudeen.
Saeed made the comments after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued a statement expressing “deep shock” over the death of Wani. In a blatant attempt to exploit the ongoing tension in Kashmir to his government’s benefit, he called the top commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen a "Kashmiri leader".
“PM Sharif has expressed his deep shock at the killing of the Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and many other civilians in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian military and paramilitary forces,” read the statement.
“It is deplorable that excessive and unlawful force was used against the civilians who were protesting against the killing of Burhan Wani. Oppressive measures such as these cannot deter the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand of exercising their right to self determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions,” it said.
“The PM has also expressed serious concern over the continued detention of the Kashmiri leadership in Indian Occupied Kashmir and called upon the Indian government to fulfill its human rights obligations as well as its commitments under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” it added.
On the other hand, lauding Sharif's position on the death of Wani, Saeed said, "I urge Pakistan government to avail this opportunity and announce its open support for those who seek freedom.”
Pakistan People's Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has alleged that "Sharif-Modi friendship" was causing "irreparable damage" to the Kashmir issue.
"While Muslims celebrated Eid-ul Fitr across the world, our Kashmiri brethren marked the day of festivities amid violence carried out by the Indian army," Bilawal said in a statement.
He accused Sharif of damaging the foreign policy by giving his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi a "certificate of friendship".
"Sharif is jeopardising the Kashmir issue by building his association with the Indian prime minister," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)