Hizbul Appoints 21-Year-Old Mehmood Ghaznavi As New Leader In Valley

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Srinagar: Five days after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed, the terrorist organisation has reportedly appointed Mehmood Ghaznavi as its new leader.

Syed Salahuddin, supreme leader of the militant group, made the announcement on Tuesday while addressing a council meeting, The Times of India reported.

Salahuddin’s statement was issued to KNS, a local news agency.

“We won’t allow the sacrifice of Burhan Wani to waste, and his mission will be taken to its logical conclusion,” Salahuddin said.

He added that the outfit will organise a meeting on 13 July in Muzaffarabad, which will be attended by the United Jihad Council and All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

According to Intelligence Bureau officials, Ghaznavi is likely to be an alias, and his real identity is likely to be 21-year-old Zakir Rashid Bhat.

However, others debate this, instead claiming that Sabzar Ahmed Bhat is the man behind the alias Ghaznavi.

Both Zakir and Sabzar are thought to be close to Wani and joined Hizbul in 2015, after Wani’s brother Khalid was killed by security forces, OneIndia reported.

Similar to Wani, Ghaznavi too had a bounty declared on him last year by the police. Some officials believe that he is a resident of Rathsuna in South Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Bhat was an engineering student in a Chandigarh college, and is likely to follow in Wani’s footsteps. When he left home to join the Hizbul, he had left a note for his father, where he had written that he could not bear the atrocities the people of Kashmir were facing. “And hence it is time that I perform Jihad,” he had written.

Wani, who was shot dead in an encounter on Friday, had a funeral a day later, attended by thousands of people. Salahuddin too paid tributes to Wani on Tuesday and prayed for courage to the bereaved family members.

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