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JeM A ‘Family Enterprise’: How India Made Sure China Buckled On Masood Azhar

Team SNI New Delhi 1 May 2019

It lasted 10 years but the wait has ended, finally. China has given up its resistance to the United Nations Security Council designating JeM chief Masood Azhar a “global terrorist”. So what made a country that blocked the move four times do a rethink? A groundswell of international support for India may have forced China’s hand. This after India shared comprehensive material about Azhar’s activities and a chronicle of his reign of terror.

SNI has gained exclusive access to the information that India shared with all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council. Here are some excerpts:

Background

  • ·Masood Azhar (born in 1968) studied at the Jamia Uloom al Islamia or the Jamia Binoria, a jihadi seminary in Karachi which has been a nerve centre of support for Afghan jihad since early 1970s.
  • ·After completing his education at the seminary, Azhar became a teacher there and joined Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil-led Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), which was at the forefront of jihad in Afghanistan. Khalil was very close to Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Azhar took combat training at Al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and also participated in jihad there.
  • ·Impressed by Azhar’s leadership quality, oratorical skills and ardent support for jihad, HuM appointed him the editor of jihadi magazine Sada-e-Mujahid.
  • ·Due to Azhar’s proximity to Khalil and Osama, he was sent to Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, the UAE, Bangladesh and the UK between 1990 and 1993 for delivering speeches and collecting donations for jihad in Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan and Somalia. He managed to collect a large amount of funds and created his own funding networks beyond Pakistan.
  • ·Following the withdrawal of Russian forces from Afghanistan in 1989, Azhar became the Secretary General of HuM and a known face in top jihadi circles.
  • ·In 1994, Azhar was sent to India through Bangladesh on a fake Portuguese passport in the name of Vali Adam Issa. He went to J&K to lead the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), a group formed by the merger of HuM and HuJI in J&K and in Pakistan.
  • ·In February 1994, Azhar was arrested by Indian security forces and jailed for his acts of jihad in India. He continued to be in jail till December 1999 and, in between, was also charged for attempted jailbreak at Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu, where he was lodged.
  • ·Azhar was freed in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 on December 31, 1999.
  • ·Within days of his release in Kandahar, Azhar resurfaced in his hometown of Bahawalpur in Pakistan and floated a new terrorist group, the JeM that claimed its first attack (a suicide attack) on an Army cantonment in J&K in December 2000 and then mounted another attack on the J&K Legislative Assembly in October 2001. JeM subsequently attacked Indian Parliament in New Delhi on December 13, 2001.

Terror History

  • ·JeM has undertaken a recruitment drive through its students and charity fronts. Talba Al-Murabitoon (Students Movement for Ideological & Geographical Defence of Islam & Pakistan), along with other wings such as Al Rehmat Trust and Preaching Wing, regularly organise events urging people to wage jihad and support their action against India.
  • ·JeM, under the patronage of Azhar, also organises events under the banner of Bazm-e-Yousafi, Majlis Wursa-e-Shoda Jammu-Wa-Kashmir, Majlis Dawat-Al-Quran and conferences in the name of killed terrorists to collect funds, radicalise and motivate youth to join conferences/congregations/programmes organised by JeM and to collect donations.
  • ·In recent years, there has been a significant increase in enrolments in basic induction courses, religious programmes and jihadi training courses organised by JeM at their markaz/centres in Pakistan including various religious/ Jehadi courses at Markaz Usman-o-Ali, Bahawalpur (Punjab).
  • ·On the instructions of Azhar, JeM has been organising various fund collection campaigns under ‘Al Rahmat Trust’ to serve jihad, mujahideens, prisoners and for construction of markaz, mosques and madrassas. However, its sole purpose is financial support for jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan.
  • ·JeM’s fund collection campaigns include “Jihad Fund” (for terrorists and funding their expenses including clothing, arms and ammunition); “Infaq Fi Sabil Allah Muhim” (to collect funds for Jihad in Kashmir); and ‘Nusrat Fund’ (donation of Pakistan currency Rs 50). The amount collected under Nusrat Fund is at the discretion of Azhar for further allotment.
  • ·Azhar, along with his brother and JeM’s Operational Commander Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar, decides on deployment of terrorists. On their direction and supervision, ‘high value operatives’, particularly trained terrorists belonging to their family are infiltrated into J&K to conduct ‘spectacular’ terror attacks.
  • ·The killings of such high value targets by Indian security forces are then projected as “shahadat” (martyrdom) and leveraged for aggressive recruitment and fund collection activities in Pakistan and Pakistan-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). Pamphlets, books dedicated to killed terrorists, photos, posts over social media, speeches of JeM functionaries and audio messages are released to further intensify recruitment and to radicalise for terror operations.
  • ·Azhar is also head of the swimming course projected by JeM as ‘Samundari Jihad’, which was started at JeM’s Markaz Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, Punjab during mid-2018. This has also been incorporated in JeM’s curriculum of advanced training towards its preparation to gain maritime capability in the medium to long run, to undertake sea/river-based operations.

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