Srinagar: After the killing its operation’s chief Mehmood Ghaznavi, Hizbul Mujahideen has named Mohammad Bin Qasim as its new chief in valley. The announcement has been made after Hizb chief Syed Salah-ud-din headed a meeting of the outfit’s “command council” in Muzaffarabad.
“The meeting has decided to give the responsibility of operational commander to Mohammad Bin Qasim,” Hizb chief spokesman Saleem Hashmi said in a statement to local news agencies.
While there is no militants by the code name of Mohammad Bin Qasim on the police radar, police sources say that the new commander could be Riyaz Naikoo, the Divisional Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen for south Kashmir. A resident of Awantipora in south Kashmir, the 27-year-old Naikoo joined militancy in 2012 and is seen one of the influential militant commanders of the outfit in south Kashmir. In past one year, Naikoo has released several video messages while he also appeared at the funerals of militants killed in encounters with army and police. In one of the recent militant funeral, he addressed the people in Pulwama.
“They (Hizb) can give Mohammad Bin Qasim name to anyone. But as far as we think, it should be Riyaz. The Hizbul Muajhideen leadership has complete trust on him and he has a good influence over his cadres,” said a senior police officer.