New Delhi: Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) ‘ghost’ commander and Pathankot Air Force Station attack mastermind is back to haunt Indian security agencies.
The ghost commander identified as Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar has assured the terror outfit of an attack bigger than Pathankot’s in India this time.
In exclusive footage accessed by India Today, Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar-brother of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar – is seen telling a huge gathering inside a mosque near Bahawalpur, Pakistan, that “people will again remember Pathankot and Nagrota”. The only available footage or visual of Asghar confirms that JeM was involved in the Pathankot attack .
“I want to assure Jaish members that we are going to carry out an attack which will be bigger than Pathankot,” thunders Asghar.
“I salute the martyr of Pathankot Abdul Qayum, who was known as Major, a Pakistani whose voice reverberated in Pathankot for four days” says a belligerent Asghar, against whom an Interpol Red Corner Notice was issued in 2016 after the Pathankot attack.
The video shows how brazenly the terrorist organisation operates in Pakistan. He can be clearly heard asking people to support JeM, which is a banned outfit in Pakistan.
Jaish-e-Mohammed has also been designated as a terrorist organisation by several countries, including India, the US, the UK and Australia.
‘INDIA TERI MAUT AAYEE’
As Asghar comes out of the mosque, jihadi slogans blare out of loudspeakers which are followed in quick succession by gunfire. Soon, several men start shouting anti-India slogans like “India teri maut aayee, Jaish aayee” meaning that JeM’s arrival is India’s end.
Ex-Deputy Indian Army Chief Raj Kadyan told India Today, “The video accessed by India Today is an incontrovertible proof that JeM was involved in Pathankot attack. It’s an admission from the horse’s mouth. This piece of evidence should be handed over to the NIA [National Investigation Agency] so that they can use it to nail Pakistan’s lies.”
According to intelligence, Rauf made the public appearance in the third week of December. Bahwalpur, where both Azhar and Asghar reside, is considered as JeM’s stronghold. Unlike terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa , it is very rare for top JeM leaders to be seen on camera.
Usually, JeM puts up pamphlets and makes announcements barring video recording of any of its gatherings.
According to the NIA’s Pathankot chargesheet, investigative agencies had collected voice data records to establish a clear link between Asghar and the attackers. Known as Mufti, Asghar was also responsible for the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 on December 24, 1999, and the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.
Despite security agencies having Rauf’s voice samples from various intercepts like call data and audio clips released by JeM, there was no visual proof before this footage.
The lack of visual proof against Rauf also led to a massive mix-up back in April 2011, when the Chilean police arrested a Pakistani citizen named Mohammad Rauf mistaking him for Asghar. It was only after a CBI team interrogated the man in Santiago, was it revealed that he was not Asghar.