Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is a relatively new organisation but has turned out to be amongst the deadliest terrorist organisation active in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). JeM has been formed by the infamous Maulana Masood Azhar, released in exchange of hijacked IC 814 Indian Airlines passengers on December 31, 2000.
Maulana Masood Azhar soon after his release figured in Pakistan and coordinated with the terrorists to for the Jaish-e-Mohammed or the Army of Prophet Mohammed on January 31, 2000. Jaish along with Lashkar-e-Tayyeba has been named by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation while India has banned it under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Under international pressure Masood Azhar had been detained by Pakistan authorities.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed is an outfit formed, controlled and manned entirely by Pakistanis. The formation of the outfit was endorsed by three religious school chiefs, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Majlis-e-Tawan-e-Islami (MT), Maulana Mufti Rashid Ahmed of the Dar-ul Ifta-e-wal-Irshad and Maulana Sher Ali of the Sheikh-ul-Hadith Dar-ul Haqqania.
The outfit’s creation can be linked to the popularity surrounding Masood Azhar after his release from India. Maulana Masood Azhar was the general secretary of the newly established Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) in 1994 and on a mission in J&K when he was arrested on February 11. When he was released, the HuA had been included in the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTOs) which had compelled the outfit to rename itself as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).
However, Masood Azhar decided to float the new outfit JeM rather than rejoin his old outfit. He was also reported to have received assistance in setting up the JeM from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and several Sunni sectarian outfits of Pakistan.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed uses violence to force a withdrawal of Indian security forces from J&K and claims that each of its offices in Pakistan would serve as schools of jihad. Most Jaish-e-Mohammed attacks have been described as fidayeen attacks. In this mode, terrorists of the outfit storm a high security target, including security forces bases, camps and convoys.
After storming, they either fortify themselves within the target, killing as many personnel and civilians as possible before they are killed by retaliatory action. In other cases, they kill and injure as many as possible before attempting to escape.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed has largely confined its operations within J&K. The only recorded instance of its operations outside J&K has been the December 13, 2001, Parliament attack in New Delhi.
The outfit is reported to be closely linked, through the Binoria Madrassah in Karachi, with the former Taliban regime of Afghanistan and its protégé, Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda.