NEW DELHI: Spilling the beans on Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad’s activities, its Srinagar-based operative Ashiq Baba has claimed that the deadly attack on Pulwama police-lines in 2017 in which eight security personnel died was led by JeM Kashmir terrorist Mufti Waqas.
The details of JeM’s actions form part of Baba’s interrogation after his detention for his alleged role in the attack on the Army base at Nagrota.
His apprehension, said sources, is proving to be a mine of information as he had been to JeM camps in Pakistan and met top leaders close to Jaish boss Maulana Masood Azhar and can provide a description of activities and jihadi leaders he met.
The Pulwama attack marked the increasingly prominent role Jaish has been playing. Three JeM attackers, wearing Indian combat uniforms, had struck in the early hours on August 26, 2017 in the camp which also had families of personnel.
A highly wanted terrorist, Waqas, was killed in an encounter with security forces in early March this year. He was also responsible for the February 11, 2018 attack at Sunjuwan army camp, in which a junior commissioned officer (JCO) was killed.
The accounts of Ashiq Baba, who travelled to Pakistan several times between 2015 and 2017 to meet JeM leaders including its emir Maulana Masood Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf and Maulana Mufti Asghar, are helping the security forces fill gaps in information about Jaish’s operations and planning.
Baba had travelled to JeM’s Bahawalpur headquarters after obtaining Pakistani visas on Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s recommendation, said sources. Baba is being questioned by NIA.
Baba is understood to have claimed that one Abdulla is specifically in charge of launching Pakistani terrorists into India from the Kashmir side of the border.
He has claimed that Jaish is running a terror training camp in Manshera in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, close to those of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), buttressing the assessment that the three anti-India terror groups work in close coordination, under the watchful eye of the Pakistan military and ISI, in planning attacks on Indian civilian and security targets.
Sources said Baba has played an “important link in JeM sending several groups of attackers to Kashmir over the years. He is among very few people in the valley, who were in direct touch with the top leadership of Jaish”.
Intelligence reports say that JeM sent several attackers in different batches to India in 2017 and they were specifically directed to carry out spectacular attacks on the camps of security forces.