Speeches, cyber trail in India’s Pulwama proof establish role of Jaish
India’s investigations into the Pulwama terror attack have established the involvement of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group, which had anyway claimed responsibility for the attack.
This proof – the group used the same Internet Protocol (IP) address from a location near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, to upload the video confession of the suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar, and also the statement of its spokesperson Mohammed Hassan – is part of the body of evidence India has handed over to Pakistan and also to top diplomats of other countries (including permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) as New Delhi attempts to once again get Pakistan to act against the terror group, and to have its leader Masood Azhar listed by UNSC as a global terrorist.
UNSC will decide that on March 13, but there has been no response from Pakistan to the evidence India has shared with it. The US, UK and France are leading the resolution for the UNSC designating Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
China, which has previously blocked efforts directed at this, is expected to take a last-minute decision on whether to apply a three-month hold on it or go with the resolution.
According to the evidence collected by Indian security agencies, and seen by Hindustan Times, investigations reveal that the WhatsApp number 7006250771, associated with JeM spokesperson Muhammed Hassan, was used to claim responsibility for the terror attack. This number was last active on WhatsApp on February 14, 2019 at 4.42 pm with the associated IP address of 220.127.116.11. This IP was tracked to a location near Rawalpindi.
Jaish used the same Indian tele-selector to upload the confessional video of the suicide bomber on social networking sites including pro-JeM Telegram channel “Afzal Guru Squad—Al Islam” as soon as Adil Ahmed Dar triggered the vehicle-borne, RDX-packed device against the Central Reserve Police Force bus at Lethpora in Pulwama. Kakapora resident Dar was an active terrorist of the Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind since March, 19, 2018, according to the evidence. The same Jaish spokesperson also claimed the group’s responsibility for the attack on an army brigade in Tangdhar in 2015.
According to the evidence, the plot for the Pulwama attack was hatched by JeM chief Masood Azhar and his younger brother Abdul Rauf Asghar, the de facto operational commander of the terrorist group, to avenge the death of their kin Talha Rasheed, son of Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Abdul Rasheed. Talha Rasheed was gunned down by Indian security forces at Kandi Aglar, Pulwama on November 6, 2017. Rauf Asghar’s close confidant/bodyguard Mohammed Ismail and Mohammed Umar, son of Masood Azhar’s elder brother Ibrahim Azhar, infiltrated into India in mid-2018. Usman Haider, another son of Ibrahim Azhar, was gunned down by Indian security forces in Tral, Awantipora, Pulwama on October 30, 2018, within days of his infiltration into the valley. India has told Pakistan that JeM cashed in on the killing of Talha Rasheed and Usman Haider for radicalizing more young people in the valley against India and raising funds for terror strikes.
Indian investigations have also revealed that Jaish’s Abdul Rasheed Ghazi infiltrated into the valley on December 9, 2018 with the objective of training local radicalized Kashmiri youth to avenge the killing of Usman Haider and Talha Rasheed. An Afghan war veteran, Ghazi is an explosives expert. The execution of the Pulwama attack was carried out by Pakistani national Kamran, who along with another Pakistani national Haider were killed in an encounter with the Indian security forces on February 18.
The evidence collected by India includes a series of annexures – videos of speeches, pamphlets, and social media posts using Pakistan numbers on WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook. In one 2018 speech, Mufti Asghar says in Balakot, the Jaish terror factory struck by Indian Air Force jets on February 26, that he will turn Pulwama into Talhawama by taking spectacular revenge for the killing of his kin. The evidence also includes an audio message from Masood Azhar on February 5, asking Kashmiri Muslims to unite, and that if this happens, they will achieve their ends within a month.
The evidence also shows that Pakistani intelligence operatives made pseudonymous calls to CRPF offices, hospitals, police control rooms and locals to ferret out details of casualties as well as the movement of Indian troops after the attack. These details were used to propagate the notion that the strike was carried out by a disaffected native Kashmiri and was an outcome of mass unrest in the Valley.
India also has shared brief details about six prominent and older JeM attacks including the near simultaneous attack on Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016 and the attack on Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. The evidence concerning the Pathankot attack shows that all four terrorists were in touch with Pakistani phone numbers with one number +92321312786 actually being associated with JeM headquarters in Bahawalpur, Pakistani Punjab. The two JeM handlers of the Pathankot airbase attackers were identified as Shahid Latif and Kashif Shahid Latif; both were released by India in 2010 after serving 16 years in jail on terrorism charges.
The attack on the Indian consulate at Mazar-e-Sharif was carried out by three JeM terrorists, who before being gunned down by Afghan forces in a 25-hour battle, inscribed “Afzal Guru Ka Intekam—Ek Shaheed, Hazaar Fidayeen” in their own blood on the wall of a nearby building. The evidence shared reveals that the three JeM terrorists moved into Afghanistan from Pakistan and were hosted by local Taliban commander Atta Mohammed.
The Indian evidence shared with Pakistan and other countries through diplomatic channels also recounts dozens of JeM attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. The evidence also has a list of 80 JeM terrorists thriving under Islamabad’s patronage across the border. Despite sharing the past jihadi history of Masood Azhar, Ibrahim Azhar, Rauf Asghar and the pin-point locations of terror training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, there has been total silence from the Imran Khan government, Indian security officials said.