Is Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind struggling to survive in Kashmir?

For political observers, Musa’s popularity with the Valley’s youth reflects Kashmir’s changing realities. “This kind of thinking was latent even before Burhan Wani,” said Altaf Hussain Nadvi, a columnist and religious scholar from Anantnag. “Until now, martyrdom for a militant meant sacrificing his life for Kashmir to become part of Pakistan because of its Muslim character. A considerable chunk of the youth now challenges this assertion. They are asking if Pakistan could not become an Islamic state 70 years after its creation, why should they lay down their lives for it? What they are asking is whether a jihad to free Kashmir and make it a part of Pakistan or an independent state has religious validity or not.”

The older players in the Kashmir conflict may be losing currency, Nadvi suggested, including Pakistan. “If you observe carefully, even Hizbul Mujahideen’s operational chief, Riyaz Naikoo, has been critical of Pakistan in his audio and video messages lately,” he explained. “Even though he is not doing so openly, anyone can gauge it. Similarly, there has been vocal criticism of the Hurriyat and its strategy after the 2016 Burhan Wani uprising.”

In October, a leaked audio message purportedly featuring Naikoo circulated on social media. “Only Pakistan can represent us on the diplomatic front,” he is heard saying. “But unfortunately, the politicians there have limited the Kashmir issue to elections.”

Nadvi contended that geopolitical factors, such as the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan, would also affect the “tone” of Kashmir’s militancy. “Doesn’t America know that after its exit Taliban will implement sharia law? The fact is America has lost in Afghanistan,” he said. “The echoes of a world power’s defeat at the hands of regular militants will not be confined to Afghanistan.”

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