- MIDDLE EAST FORUM - Sam Westrop - NOV 15, 2021 -
A former president of the Pakistani state of Azad Kashmir, Masood Khan, has been named as Pakistan's ambassador to the United States.
Certainly, appointing a new ambassador makes sense. After all, Pakistan's image is perhaps at its lowest point. Its role in aiding the Taliban has been acknowledged and discussed in parliaments and press outlets all across the world, particularly following the collapse of the Afghan government and the revival of a brutal theocracy.
A brief glance at Khan's history as a former official of the foreign service of Pakistan, and subsequently an ambassador to both the United Nations and China, might give an impression of great statesmanship and the cautiousness that usually goes along with such offices.
But Masood Khan is not a harbinger of détente. He is a dangerous radical with a long history of working with Islamists in the West and jihadists in the East. His appointment is evidence of an increasingly dangerous Pakistani regime, which is working to coopt and support Islamists all around the world, including in the United States.
Examples of Khan's jihadist links are shamelessly plentiful. In July 2021, while serving as president of Azad Kashmir, Khan provided a "special message" on the "fifth martyrdom anniversary of Kashmir's most beloved freedom fighter," Burhan Wani. A commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a designated terrorist organization under U.S. law, Burhan Wani persuaded Kashmiris to "join the holy war" against India, offering the "promise of a fulfilled life hereafter."
At the commemoration event, Masood Khan declared: "We grieve today for Burhan Wani. . . . He lives on . . . in our hearts. He sacrificed his life for a cause." Pakistani media reports add that Khan claimed Wani was a "role model for the freedom fighters across the globe" and that "the liberation of Kashmir and a defeat of India is the writing on the wall."
Wani is not the only Hizbul Mujahideen jihadist regarded favorably by Khan. In June 2017, following the U.S. State Department's decision to designate the terrorist organization, mainstream Pakistani media reported that the "AJK President expressed full support for Hizbul Mujahideen." Khan further declared that U.S. sanctions against the terrorist group's leader, Syed Salahuddin, were "unjustified." Salahuddin is also the chair of the United Jihad Council, a Kashmiri umbrella group for terrorists backed by the Pakistani regime.
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