Prayer, weapons and maps: A day in a Pakistan jihad camp

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2015 21:20 IST
The sole militant caught alive after a terrorist attack on a BSF convoy that was travelling on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur district about 85km from Jammu, on Wednesday, August 05, 2015 (HT Photo)

A deafening military-style hooter goes off at 3:30am, the wake-up alarm for terror apprentices at a typical jihad factory in Pakistan.

In the next 30 minutes, they complete their ablutions and gather for the day’s first prayer, the Namaz-e-Tahajjud.

Over the next 19 hours, the recruits go through a drill that includes intensive physical exercises, arms training and plotting grid references to hone their map-reading skills. All these are interspersed by prayer sessions.

Mohammad Naveed Yakub went through this exercise too, first at a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan. The young militant gave a peep into the flourishing jihad factory in Pakistan after he was captured by villagers he had taken hostage in Jammu’s Udhampur during an ambush on a BSF convoy on August 5.

In 2011, Naveed’s first drill focussed on religious indoctrination and physical fitness. The second and third — August-December 2014 and February-May 2015 — at a camp in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were similar but more rigorous.

The Udhampur ambush was apparently a fidayeen or suicide attack, a core component of the training the youngsters receive from fanatics who promise them a place in heaven if they die for their faith. “My partner was killed in the firing but I escaped. Had I been killed, it would have been Allah’s doing,” he said soon after his capture.

An official interrogating Naveed said the training modules “are a heady mix of religious lectures and military regimen”.

The militant told interrogators that all recruits offer Fzr Namaz at 4:45am, followed by a two-hour workout from 5:30am. Next, they attend an hour-long class on Hadith before breakfast is served.

After a post-breakfast two-hour weapons training session, they head for lectures on jihad. Lunch and a three-hour rest later, more sessions on the Koran follows. They finally retire for the night at 10pm.

“The recruits are trained to read maps by plotting grid references using GPS sets, compass and Google Earth. Sometimes exercise sessions are held at night with jungle marches. Naveed said his trainers repeatedly showed grid references and asked him to locate the position on a map,” an interrogator said.

The novice jihadis get to fire 100 rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle, five light machine gun rounds and 10 rounds from a pistol as well as shown how to handle hand grenades.

Naveed was pushed into India after he completed the three-course terror training.

Read:Pakistan man admits he is Naveed's 'unfortunate father'

Captured terrorist Sajjad is my cousin, says man from Pakistan

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