Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar planned the Pulwama attack and gave instructions from Rawalpindi hospital bed, a latest media report said exposing Pakistan’s lie. The report by Times of India states that Azhar kept the plan hidden from United Jihad Council and secretly deputed his nephews to carry out the attack. In an audio tape, Azhar exhorted the Jaish men to avenge the killing of his nephew Usman, who was gunned down by Indian security forces in 2017. Previous reports had pointed out that Azhar had sent an Afghan war veteran – Abdul Ghazi – to Jammu and Kashmir to avenge the killings.
According to TOI report, in the audio tape, Azhar was quoted as saying, “Koi inhe dahshatgard kahega, koi inhe nikamma kahega, koi inhe aman ke liye khatra kahega….” “There is nothing more pleasurable than death in this war,” the Pathankot attack mastermind said the tape exhorting his men to carry out the attack. Initial probe has revealed that around 60 kg of RDX was used to carry out the attack. Adil Ahmad Dar, the 22-year-old local resident of Pulwama, drove the vehicle and rammed into the convoy on NH1A. It is the worst attack on the security forces in the Valley in last two decades. Islamabad, though condemning the attack and calling it a ‘grave concern’, has repeatedly denied any role in the case.
Ghazi is an IED expert, who has also been tasked to train young recruits. Ghazi infiltrated from Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the month of December last year. Usman and Talha Rasheed were gunned down by the security forces in an anti-terror operation in 2017. The dreaded terrorist has been hiding in Pulwama ever since than.
Earlier reports have said that apart from Jaish-e-Mohammed’s core group another relatively new group known as Afzal Guru Squad could have played an important role. This Squad had carried out attack on the Sunjuwan Army Camp in February last year.
What is more startling is that the ‘chatter’ or the surveillance input gathered by the intelligence officials registered a disturbing message the Pulwama attack. “Bada hona chahiye, Hindustan rona chahiye,” read one of the transcripts. Ghazi is known as an IED expert who infiltrated in India in December last year. Later he travelled on foot to reach this town in southern Kashmir.
The terrorist attack, which has direct footprints inside Pakistan, poses the first major challenges to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, said Riedel, who is now a scholar at the Brookings Institute think-tank.
"This will be a real challenge for Imran Khan, the first serious challenge of his administration," he said. Anish Goel, a former National Security Council official in the previous Obama administration, said the horrific attack highlights just how actively Pakistan-based terrorist groups still operate in Kashmir.
“By claiming such quick credit for the attack, Jaish-e-Mohammed is clearly indicating that they will continue to cause trouble in the region and stoke tensions between Pakistan and India,” he said.