The United Jihad Council, also known as the Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC), is an umbrella organisation formed by the Pakistan Army for unified command and control over the anti-Indian militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir. It was formed in the summer of 1994 and is currently headed by Syed Salahuddin, the leader of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The organisation was created to unify and focus efforts of various armed militant groups fighting against the Indian rule in Kashmir. This made distribution of resources like arms, ammunition, propaganda materials and communications more streamlined. It also made it easier to coordinate and pool resources of various militant groups to collect information, plan operations and strike at targets of military importance inside Indian administered Kashmir.
The militant group has 13 affiliates. Some of the group members are: Harakat-ul-Ansar, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, Al-Jihad, Al-Barq, Al-Badr, Ikhwan-ul-Mussalmin, Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen. By early 1999, as many as fifteen organisations were affiliated with the Council, though of these only five were considered influential: Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Al-Badr and Tehrik-i-Jihad. Many of these organisations are recognised as terrorist organisations by the United States and the UN.
The United Jihad Council emerged as the primary public voice of the Mujahideen in the Kargil offensive. The United Jihad Council, including four other units fighting in the Kargil mountains said the guerrillas would not leave the area because it was their homeland. However they agreed to back up after the then US President Bill Clinton personally mediated in the situation.
It is fairly common now for UJC/MJC members to frequently address public gatherings, publish materials and recruit new fighters inside Azad Kashmir. State patronage from the autonomous Kashmiri government and protection from Pakistani security forces helps the free movement of men, materials and resources. UJC announced several unilateral ceasefires in the Kashmir region and subsequently withdrew because they were not reciprocated from the Indian side. In view of the recent mass unarmed uprising in Kashmir against the Indian rule, UJC has imposed moratorium on strikes on military targets in local areas.
In June 2012 in an interview, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin accepted that Pakistan had been backing Hizbul Mujahideen for fight in Kashmir. He had declared to start attacking Pakistan if Pakistan stopped backing the separatist militants in Jammu and Kashmir who, he claimed, were fighting Pakistan's war.
|“||We are fighting Pakistan's war in Kashmir and if it withdraws its support, the war would be fought inside Pakistan,||”|
|— Sayeed Salahudeen (leader of Hizbul Mujahideen)|
Pathankot Terror Attack
The group claimed responsibility of the attack carried out on Pathankot Air Base administered by Indian Air Force on 3 January 2016. The incident claimed 14 casualties including 7 security personnel, 1 civilian and 6 attackers.
- International Crisis Group (2002), Kashmir: Confrontation and Miscalculation, International Crisis Group, p. 6
- Snedden 2013, p. 198.
- "United Jihad Council claims responsibility for Pathankot attack". The Hindu. Srinagar. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "State Department Identifies 40 Foreign Terrorist Organizations". Country Reports on Terrorism 2004. U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 24 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- PTI (8 June 2012). "Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin warns Pakistan against withdrawing support on Kashmir". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- "Normalization of Indo-Pak ties hurts Kashmir cause: Salahuddin". Arab News. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- "Pathankot terror attack Live: United Jihad Council claims responsibility". DNA webdesk. Pathankot. Daily News and Analysis. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.