close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox


Inside Bahawalpur, headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammed

Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar is a global terrorist who was one of the masterminds behind the Pulwama terror attack in India.


 

JeM headquarters guarded by Pakistani policemen

Pakistan-based terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is responsible for the February 14 attack on a convoy of CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama which killed over 40 soldiers.

In the days following the attack, both India and Pakistan engaged in a dogfight.

On February 26, India launched an airstrike in Pakistan's Balakot where JeM is based.

News agency Associated Press visited Bahawalpur and saw the JeM headquarters being guarded by Pakistani policemen. The cops and bearded men, armed with automatic rifles, warned off visitors outside the compound.

 

(Photograph:AP)

Masood Azhar's luxury complex- minutes away from Pak military academy

Masood Azhar was born in Bahawalpur and seen here is his house. Emotions run high in favour of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Bahawalpur, a city in southern Pakistan's jihadist heartland.

Azhar's house Jamia Masjid Subhan Allah - a mosque - is along Pakistan's national highway five and minutes away from the Pakistani military academy. 

The complex itself is believed to be spread across three acres.

Reports say that it has several modern facilities - including a state of the art gymnasium - and a swimming pool. 

(Photograph:AP)

Azhar started a trust to raise funds for his terror activities

Just eight kilometres away from Azhar's residence is the Bahawalpur cantonment - home to Pakistan's 31 corps.

This is a unit of the Pakistani army that reportedly has around 30,000 troops. 

Azhar started a trust to raise funds for his JeM which was proscribed by the United Nations in 2002.

(Photograph:AFP)

Secret nuclear facility close to Azhar's fortress

Reports say he used the same money to build the state-of-the-art safehouse at Bahawalpur.

Some other reports suggest that a secret nuclear facility of Pakistan is also quite close to Masood Azhar's fortress.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Complex used to recruit and train terrorists

The complex was used to recruit and train terrorists, recently the Pakistan government claimed that it has taken control of the compound.

Pakistan's minister of state for the interior Shehryar Khan Afridi had recently announced that Mufti Abdur Rauf, Azhar's brother, and Hammad Azhar, Azhar's son, had been arrested along with 42 other members of terror groups. 

However, India's chief enemy Masood Azhar still remains at large.

(Photograph:AFP)

Azhar advocates pan-Islamism

In 1979-1989, after he suffered injuries in the Soviet-Afghan War, he was chosen as the head of Harkat-ul-Ansar's department of motivation.

In the early 1990s, Azhar became the general secretary of Harkat-ul-Ansar and visited international locations to recruit, raise funds and spread the message of pan-Islamism.

Among his destinations were Zambia, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, the United Kingdom and Albania.

(Photograph:AFP)

Azhar's close association with Osama bin Laden

Reports had earlier claimed that the JeM chief was suspected to be afflicted with renal failure and is under regular dialysis at an army hospital in Rawalpindi in Pakistan.

The JeM chief was a close associate of Osama bin Laden, terror motivator in several African countries and also known by many as the Pakistani cleric who brought jihad into the religious discourse at mosques in the UK.

The influence of the 50-year-old terror mastermind was so huge that, when he was released by India in exchange for freeing the hijacked Indian Airlines aircraft IC-814 on December 31, 1999 in Kandahar, Laden hosted a banquet for him the same night.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Azhar arrested for preaching jihad

Azhar was arrested for preaching jihad in Jammu and Kashmir in 1994. One of his British recruits, Omar Shaikh, as a member of the terrorist group Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), kidnapped four western tourists in India in 1994 in order to secure the release of Azhar.

Security agencies succeeded in releasing the hostages and arresting Shaikh.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Jaish-e-Mohammed and its first attack

Again in 1995, five western tourists were kidnapped by HuA and eventually killed in order to gain the release of Azhar.

Almost immediately after Azhar's release, Jaish-e-Mohammed was formed and it carried out its first suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir in April 2000 by striking the Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar.

( In picture- Supporters of banned Islamic militants group Jaish-e-Mohammed chanting slogans.)

(Photograph:AFP)

Jaish-e-Mohammad not terrorist group, say locals

Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader enjoy considerable support in Bahawalpur. Tahir Zia, who lives here, believes Jaish-e-Mohammad is not terrorist group. 'They just want to spread Islam,' he said.

(Photograph:AP)