Today's Paper

India fortifying case against JeM

It will show how the outfit is a threat to the West

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 UNSC’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.

He 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.

“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.

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 had kidnapped at least 13 individuals, 12 of them Westerners.

Released in 2002

After India and other foreign countries put pressure on Pakistan, after the 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 said the outfit is run like a family enterprise.

He said the outfit is linked, through the Binoria madrasa in Karachi, with the former Taliban regime of Afghanistan.

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