Investigators suspect one of the five Pakistani numbers dialed by the Pathankot attackers may belong to Ghulam Murtza, chief functionary of the Al Rahmat Trust, a charity used as a front by terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad.
In all, the attackers called five Pakistani numbers — +92 ***3132786, +92 ***7775253, +92 ***4880619, +92 ***0597212 and +92 ***303049, sources told HT.
“We suspect +92 *** 3132786 was being used by Ghulam Murtza, who is a key figure in the Al Rahmat Trust. The accounts of Al Rahmat Trust in National Bank and Habib Bank of Pakistan are handled by Murtza. Murtza is a key associate of (Jaish founder) Maulana Masood Azhar,” said an investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the probe.
HT could not independently verify all the claims of the investigator.
But a Muzaffarabad-based Jaish operative, Saifullah Khaild , who this correspondent spoke to a few days ago posing as a prospective donor to the Al Rahmat Trust, also provided the same number (+92 *** 3132786) with the information that it belonged to Bahawalpur-based Ghulam Murtza.
Khalid completed a 14-year prison term in Jammu and Jodhpur before being repatriated to Pakistan in 2007, and is now associated with the trust.
Jaish is headquartered in Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province and runs a training camp in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
“We will seek voice samples of Murtza and other key associates of Masood Azhar to see whether they match the voices of the handlers of those who attacked the Pathankot air base,” said the official.
Investigators also suspect the attackers or their associates conducted a recce of the air base before launching the audacious early-morning attack on January 2 that stretched into a three-day gunfight and left seven security personnel dead.
“The way they entered the base and remained hidden in the Military Engineer Services shed for almost 24 hours before launching the attack, it is quite clear a proper recce was done before the attack. We are looking for those who may have done it,” said the investigator.