JAMMU: Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahuddin is reportedly under tremendous pressure from Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to quit, according to an assessment by the intelligence agencies.
According to inputs gathered by intelligence agencies, the growing pressure on Salahuddin to quit is indicative of deepening rivalries in the ranks of Pakistan-based jihadi outfits that target India.
Apparently, with the backing from Pakistan's notorious spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Salahuddin has led Hizbul and headed the United Jihad Council (UJC) for years.
However, Salahuddin is now facing an existential threat from JeM and LeT as his outfit is battling depleting influence in Kashmir-centric operations.
According to intelligence agencies, Salahuddin has reportedly agreed to “willingly” quit as the chief of the terror outfit, which operates only in Kashmir.
LeT chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed boss Maulana Masood Azhar are the ones who are at the forefront of a campaign to remove Salahuddin.
The ISI is reportedly under pressure from the LeT and JeM to remove Syed Salahuddin, the intelligence agencies claim.
In order to sharpen attack on Salahuddin, LeT and JeM have pitted top Hizbul commanders such as Amir Khan, Imtiyaz Alam and a few others against him.
Like Hafiz Saeed, Salahuddin is also a UN-listed global terrorist and has enjoyed a considerable clout as the head of the United Jihad Council (UJC).
The UJC was formed by Pakistan Army as an umbrella organisation for coordination between anti-India terror outfits.
The killing of top Hizbul commanders like Burhan Wani, Sabzar Bhat, Sajad Gilkar and Abdul Qayoom Najar by the security forces in the last two years is one of the main reasons why the outfit's top leaders are lobbying against Salahuddin.
Moreover, Hizbul has also not carried out a major attack on security forces in the Kashmir Valley, which has apparently irked the Pakistani establishment that has increasingly preferred Jaish and Lashkar for its anti-India operations.
This is important in the light of an investigation by the Indian intelligence agencies which said that the recent terror attacks in Sunjuwan and CRPF camps were synchronised by the JeM and LeT.
After launching fresh fidayeen attacks on the camps of the BSF, the CRPF and the Indian Army, the JeM and LeT wants to expand their outreach among the local Kashmiris and their influence in the region, the intelligence officials believe.
The security agencies see this as a pressure tactic from Saeed and Azhar to bring Hizbul under their control and convince its recruits to be part of their fidayeen squads.