Jaish propaganda machine continues to purr in Pakistan, nerve centre Rawalpindi

JeM weekly Al-Qalam is still accessible online, and contains over 250 articles written by Sa'adi, the alleged pen name of terror outfit's chief Masood Azhar.

Published: 05th March 2019 07:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th March 2019 03:14 PM   |  A+A-

Masood Azhar

Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar (File | AFP)

By Online Desk

Banned terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is still airing its anti-India messages despite the Imran Khan government's promises of action after the deadly suicide bomb attack at J&K's Pulwama.

JeM weekly Al-Qalam is still accessible online, and contains over 250 articles written by Sa'adi, the alleged pen name of the terror outfit's chief Masood Azhar, reported NDTV.

Azhar's last despatch under the above pen name appears in the February 27 edition, one day after the IAF's air strike. He reportedly referred to the strikes saying that "Indians should not assume that their threats are scaring us. Definitely not."

Al-Qalam has mentioned Rawalpindi as its office address on its website.

In the February 20 edition of the journal, Azhar described how the Pulwama attack was carried out by JeM's "Kashmiri Mujahideen".

The weekly also published messages from Azhar's brother, JeM commander Abdul Rauf Asghar, on multiple occasions. 

In April 2018, he had praised students of the Balakot Madrassa Ta'aleem Al Quran, IAF's primary target in the February 26 airstrikes, for first lighting the "torch of jihad" in Kashmir.

"The youth who rise from this madrassa (in Balakot) have broken the arrogance of the mountains of Kashmir and lit the torch of jihad there, and they will - God willing - continue to keep it alight," Asghar was quoted as saying.

What does intelligence say about JeM?

According to Indian intelligence, the banned terror outfit had resolved to continue its "Ghazwa-e-Hind" (holy war against India) irrespective of India-Pakistan bilateral ties.

Jaish even made an official proclamation of this in a conference in Pakistan's Okara district on November 27, 2017, where more than 2,000 participants praised the outfit's activities, along with the role played by Masood Azhar.

The conference was addressed by Abdul Rauf Asghar, Md Maqsood and Abdul Malik Tahir.

As per officials, it was Asghar who said India-Pakistan friendship and their bilateral trade would not end the outfit's 'jihad'.

There was another six-day meeting in February 2018, which saw the JeM's 'Shoba-e-Taaruf' (Department of Introduction) conducting 13 interaction sessions in which 700 people, including 65 'Ulemas' (religious scholars), participated.

Around the same time, the outfit carried out an attack on the Indian Army's Sunjwan camp in J&K in which five Army officers were killed and many more were injured. Five terrorists took part, of which three were killed and two escaped.

The intelligence report said that JeM described the attack on the Sunjwan Camp as a "revenge" operation by the 'Afzal Guru Shaheed Squad'.

The report also mentioned a four-day visit by JeM's 'Shoba-e-Taaruf' delegation to Sialkot district in March 2018, comprising Mujahid Abbas, Rashid Mushtaq and Abid Mehmood, during which it organised 17 sessions attended by 1,500 people, including 50 'Ulemas'.

JeM brought India and Pakistan to brink of war twice

The terror outfit, which also carried out attacks on the Pathankot airbase, the Army brigade headquarters in Uri and the Srinagar's Badamibagh cantonment, brought the two countries to the brink of war twice, once on December 13, 2001 when they attacked the Indian Parliament, killing nine security personnel and officials, and 18 years later in Pulwama.

The outfit also bombed the J&K Assembly on October 1, 2001 when 31 people died. 

As per a book by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, the Parliament was attacked to help Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden escape from Afghanistan's Tora Bora caves, leading to a situation where Indian forces were mobilised on its western border.

This in turn led Pakistan to withdraw much of its forces from the border with Afghanistan, helping bin Laden to flee.

Jaish then became the channel to bring terrorists and their families from Afghanistan to safe havens in Pakistan, run by them and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Pakistan's flip-flop on Azhar

On March 1, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed that Masood Azhar is in Pakistan and is unwell.

“He (Masood Azhar) is in Pakistan. According to my information, he is very unwell. He's unwell to the extent that he cannot leave his house because he is really unwell. So, that's the information I have”, Qureshi told CNN.  

The minister also assured of taking action against the JeM chief if India provides solid, inalienable evidence against the latter.

There were also reports quoting Pakistani government officials saying that Azhar was suspected to be afflicted with renal failure and had been undergoing regular dialysis in an army hospital in Rawalpindi.

Qureshi later remarked that Jaish had not claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack. However, contrary to the Pakistan Foreign Minister's claims, the terror outfit in a video claimed responsibility for the deadly attack and identified the suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar as one of their own.

Pakistan envoy to US Asad Majeed Khan also backed Qureshi's claims on Tuesday, saying there was no organised presence of any terrorist group in his country.

He even accused India of acting as the "judge, jury and executioner" by attacking Pakistan after the terror attack.

However, on Tuesday the country cracked down on Jaish and took Masood Azhar’s brother Mufti Abdul Rauf and 43 members of other banned terror outfits into ‘preventive detention.’

The Imran government also said, “It was decided to speed up action against all proscribed organisations, and in compliance, 44 under-observation members of proscribed organisations, including Mufti Abdul Rauf and Hammad Azhar, have been taken in preventive detention for investigation.”

Minister of State for the Interior Sheryar Khan Afridi was quoted as saying that the names of Mufti Abdul Rauf and Hammad Azhar were mentioned in a Pulwama attack dossier shared by India last week.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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