Eye on FATF relief, Pakistan disowns Masood Azhar and JeM leadership

Updated on Sep 14, 2022 07:39 PM IST

It is understood that JeM de-facto leader Rauf Azhar, the younger brother of Masood Azhar, has taken been under the protection of the Pakistan-deep state.

JeM chief Masood Azhar Alvi and interior minister of Afghanistan Sirajuddin Haqqani.
JeM chief Masood Azhar Alvi and interior minister of Afghanistan Sirajuddin Haqqani.
By, New Delhi

With an eye on getting out of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) Grey List, Pakistan is believed to have virtually disowned the leadership of the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group. While the Taliban leadership has rejected Islamabad's contention that JeM chief Masood Azhar Alvi has relocated to Afghanistan from Bahawalpur in Punjab after ultra-conservative Sunni-Pashtun militia occupied Kabul in 2021, intelligence sources indicate Azhar is located in east Afghanistan.

It is also understood that JeM commander de-facto leader Rauf Azhar has taken been under the protection of the Pakistan-deep state.

On September 13, the Pakistan foreign office wrote to its Taliban counterparts seeking assistance in locating and arresting Masood Azhar. This letter and demand were completely rejected by the Taliban who said the terror leader was not in Afghanistan.

According to Af-Pak watchers, the Pakistani-deep state is again playing a dual game to get rid of the FATF hook. It's understood that the Rawalpindi general HQ may have pushed Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri to Kabul post the Taliban's take over and thereby exposed to the US airfire missiles.

Also Read | Taliban rejects reports about JeM chief Masood Azhar seeking refuge in Afghanistan

In the case of Masood Azahar, Pakistan is exploiting its age-old links with the Taliban leader Mullah Umar whom he met immediately after being released in exchange for passengers of Indian Airlines Flight 814 (IC814) hijacked in Kandahar in 1999.

Masood Azhar and his brother have virtually disowned by Pakistan when India and France co-sponsored a proposal before the UNSC 1267 sanctions Committee against Aurangzeb Alamgir alias Mujahid Bhai and Ali Kashif Jan alias Jan Ali Kashif. While Alamgir, a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan was the key conspirator, fundraiser and infiltration commander responsible for the 2019 Pulwama terror strike in which 40 CRPF men were killed by a JeM suicide bomber, Alamgir was the chief architect of the 2016 Pathankot attack.

On Wednesday, a Taliban spokesman tweeted that the foreign ministry of Afghanistan rejects media reports that “Masood Azhar, the leader of the Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammed group, has sought refuge in Afghanistan”.

The spokesman added, “We reiterate that [the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] does not allow any armed opposition [groups] in its territory to operate against any other country.”

The Taliban called on all parties “to refrain from such allegations lacking any proof and documentation”. Such media allegations “can adversely affect bilateral relations”, the spokesman said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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