Security agencies putting together details of JeM’s threat not only to India but also to West

File photo of JeM chief Masood Azhar.   | Photo Credit: AP

As India, supported by France, prepares a fresh proposal to place Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar on the ban list operated by the United Nations Security Council’s 1267 committee, security agencies are putting together new details of the outfit’s threat not only to India but also to the West.

A senior official said they would highlight how the JeM’s parent outfit, Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), included by the U.S. in its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations in 1999, had been rechristened as Jaish-e-Mohammad and continued to train terrorists for attacks against the U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Another senior official said Balakot, the JeM training camp that was hit in a precision strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) last week, was established after the Taliban collapsed in Afghanistan in 2001.

“The primary aim of the establishment of this camp was to train people to go to Afghanistan to attack the U.S. troops there. Their next objective was to train fidayeen [suicide bombers] and then the local militants. As many as two-thirds of the militants trained here were sent to Afghanistan,” the senior official said.

The JeM’s creation could be linked to the popularity surrounding Masood Azhar after his release from India in 1999. He was released in exchange for the passengers of the Indian Airlines aircraft IC 814 that was hijacked from Nepal.

Security agencies putting together details of JeM’s threat not only to India but also to West

“He was the general secretary of the newly established Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) in 1994 and was on a mission in J&K when he was arrested on February 11 the same year. After he was released [in 1999], the HuA was included in the U.S. list which compelled the outfit to rename itself as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). Azhar decided to float a new outfit, JeM. He received assistance from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and several Sunni sectarian outfits of Pakistan,” said the official.

He said the formation of the outfit was endorsed by three religious school chiefs in Pakistan, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Majlis-e-Tawan-e-Islami, Maulana Mufti Rashid Ahmed of the Dar-ul Ifta-e-wal-Irshad and Maulana Sher Ali of the Sheikh-ul-Hadith Dar-ul Haqqania.

Terror tactics

A 1998 report by the U.S.’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said, “HuA, an Islamic extremist organisation that Pakistan supports in its proxy war against Indian forces in Kashmir, increasingly is using terrorist tactics against Westerners and random attacks on civilians that could involve Westerners to promote its pan-Islamic agenda.” The report also said that since early 1994 to 1998, the HuA kidnapped at least 13 individuals, 12 of them westerners.

After India and other foreign countries put pressure on Pakistan, post 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament by the outfit, Azhar was arrested by Pakistani security forces on December 29, 2001. However, a three-member Review Board of the Lahore High Court ordered on December 14, 2002, that Azhar be released. He was never detained or arrested after that.

The official added that the outfit is run like a family enterprise and the prominent office-bearers include Qari Mansoor Ahmed, Nazim (head) of the Propaganda Wing (a resident of Bhurewala, Pakistan’s Punjab); Abdul Jabbar – Nazim, Military Affairs (Formerly with HuM); Sajjad Usman – in charge of Finance (Former HuM); Shah Nawaz Khan alias Sajjid Jehadi and Gazi Baba – Chief Commander J&K (Former Commander HuM, J&K); and Mohamamd Asghar – Launching Commander (former Launching Commander of HuM).

The official said the outfit was closely linked, through the Binoria madrassa in Karachi, with the former Taliban regime of Afghanistan.

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Printable version | Sep 13, 2021 1:05:48 PM |

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