Reiterating his claim that attack on India's Pathankot airbase was carried out by Kashmiri militants, United Jihad Council (UJC) chairman Syed Salahuddin on Wednesday asked Pakistan to "give up hypocrisy" and stand either by the side of the "freedom-seeking Kashmiris or their tormenter – India."
"Pakistan is not only an advocate but also a party to the longstanding Kashmir dispute and therefore the Pakistani people, government and media should play the role of a patron rather than of an adversary," he Salahuddin said at a press conference here.
"Support to the slain (Kashmiris) and friendship with the slayer (India) cannot go hand in hand."
The acerbic remarks by Salahuddin came in the wake of Islamabad's condemnation of the recent attack on Pathankot airbase, responsibility of which was claimed by UJC, a conglomerate of around a dozen militant groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.
Without naming Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Salahuddin also lashed out at the crackdown by Islamabad on its militants, terming it "dismaying."
"India has been mercilessly killing the Kashmiris, day in day out. Every day breaks like a doomsday in Kashmir, but nobody calls it terrorism… Nobody bothers to ask (Narendra) Modi to stop that tyranny," he said.
He asserted that Pathankot was purely a military target, struck by the mujahideen at the peril of their lives, "but from (Pakistani) defence minister to all else spoke bad about them."
"We are at loss to understand that whether they are concerned about the interests of the country that feeds them or that of its enemy?"
"Khawaja Asif Sahib, we are not terrorists, we are legitimate freedom fighters, struggling for our usurped rights for the last 68 years in accordance with the UN charter," he said, addressing Pakistani defence minister.
"If a soldier from Delhi, Madras, Nagaland and elsewhere in India can kill our children in our motherland, molest our womenfolk and torch our properties, why can't we hit them in their territory. If attacking unarmed civilians is allowed to them, why it's forbidden for us to attack the armed military personnel?"
Of the Pathankot attackers, he said his alliance not only owned them, but also felt proud of them.
"They are from us… We have been patronizing them and feel proud of it. I can claim with certainty that there is not a single non-Kashmiri fighter among them. Yes, some of them may be living in Kashmir and some as a refugee in Pakistan."
He pointed out that after receiving telephonic intercepts from India, Pakistan had constituted a high-powered committee from its counter terrorism department.
But, he lamented, before the committee could start its task, Islamabad launched crackdown on militants, arresting them and sealing their offices.
"What was the rationale behind the arrest of Maulana Masood Azhar?"
He said the crackdown was not only dismaying but it had also sent a wrong signal across the divide – a message of anguish and despair.
Referring to the Pakistani government, he once again questioned: "Are you happy that the bullet should be fired, women molested and settlements torched only in the territory of Kashmir? Why you become sleepless when there is an action (by militants) against a military target outside Kashmir?"
Salahuddin made it clear that the Kashmiris could not coexist with Indian imperialism and added if Pakistan was eager to establish friendship and trade relations with India it was fine, but then she should quit advocacy of Kashmir."
"Allah alone is sufficient for us. There will not be any compromise on it. We will not allow anyone on either side of the divide to commit a betrayal."
He vowed that as long as India would continue to employ barbarism in Kashmir, Pathankot-like actions would continue to happen.
"If the Indian forces do not refrain from coward acts of brutality against innocent women and children, we will retaliate in any part of India and we are capable enough to do so," he threatened.
He asked Pakistan's political and military leadership to remain wary of Indian prime minister's policies of deceit and backstabbing.
Regarding Gilgit-Baltistan status, he said Islamabad should give maximum constitutional rights to them, but should not provide any excuse to India to annex the territories under occupation.
He also rejected India-Pakistan talks as a "useless exercise."