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Sunjuwan attack: Why Pakistan has been shielding Masood Azhar

The JeM has become the mainstay of Islamabad's anti-India agenda.

 |  3-minute read |   13-02-2018
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The terror attack on the Army camp at Sunjuwan on Srinagar National Highway has once again proved that the Pakistani establishment is providing all support to Jaish-e-Mohammad chief leader Maulana Masood Azhar, and leaving no stone unturned to protect him and the deadly terror outfit.

In recent years, Masood Azhar has become the mainstay of Pakistan's anti-India agenda. Masood, who has spent most of his years with al Qaeda and the Taliban, is today busy preparing his army of most-dreaded terrorists to "fight for Kashmir", to train them and help them provide local support in Kashmir. In doing so, Masood is getting full support of the Pakistani army and the government, because for the past two years he has been kept completely underground and hidden from the outside world.

No public appearance 

Masood Azhar has not made public appearance since the Pathankot attack two years ago. Sources in Indian intelligence agencies say that some concrete information on Masood Azhar did come about at the time of the Pathankot attack in January 2016. Back then, even Pakistan’s Punjab province law minister Rana Sanaullah had confirmed that the banned JeM chief Masood Azhar was taken into “protective custody”, but not arrested in connection with the Pathankot attack.


That was the first time that Masood Azhar was detained in Pakistan. But since then, the Pakistan Army and the neighbouring country's government maintained complete silence over Masood. 

Indian intelligence agencies have come to know that the JeM chief has organised four major events in the past few months. In the first week of December, he organised an event on Kashmir at Rawalakot, where a camp was also held by the terror outfit at a local stadium. Local JeM terrorists had unknowingly put up posters in the city in which there was a mention of Maulana Masood Azhar. After this, three to four weeks ago, a programme on Kashmir was also organised by the JeM in Larkana (Sindh), in which it gave out a threat that soon a major attack on the Indian Army was to take place.

Public statement in Peshawar

According to intelligence agencies, for the past two years, Azhar has not taken part in any such programme from where his photos or videos were suspected to have come out. In cities such as Sindh and Karachi, Azhar's brother Maulana Talha Siaf read out Azhar’s speeches in Jaish's anti-India events. Masood did give a statement from Peshawar in November 2017, which was about his nephew Talha Rasheed, who was killed by security forces in Pulwama, Kashmir. He had refused to accept Rasheed's dead body.

The extent to which the JeM chief enjoys influence in Pakistan can be understood from the fact that along with terrorists even the local police are involved for the security of his headquarter in Bahawalpur.

SIT on Pathankot attack

The SIT formed by Pakistan government after the Pathankot attack has not come out with its report till now. Masood Azhar was accused of plotting an attack on former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, but he was never arrested in that case too. Despite all efforts by India, Pakistan along with China has been protecting Azhar from UN sanctions.

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Praveen Shekhar Praveen Shekhar

The writer is Associate Producer, TVTN.

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