New Delhi: In a boost to India’s probe against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed handlers in the attack on the Pathankot IAF base, the US has handed over evidence, comprising over 1,000 pages of chats and conversations between handler Kashif Jaan and the four fidayeen who were eventually killed, to the NIA.
The conversations, as in the case of the Lashkar bosses who scripted the carnage in Mumbai in 2008 from a safe house in Karachi, make it clear that the terror strike on Pathankot was micro-managed from Pakistan.
The four fidayeen of JeM, identified as Nasir Hussain from Punjab, Abu Bakar from Gujranwala and Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum from Sindh, were in regular touch with their handlers in Pakistan during the 80-hour attack.
Sources told TOI that the documents also include Kashif Jaan’s conversations with other Pakistan-based JeM office-bearers apart from other exchanges over a period of time. NIA officials are analysing the documents.
The investigations reveal that apart from chats on WhatsApp and other platforms, Jaan was using a Facebook account connected to the same mobile number which the attackers called from Pathankot after abducting Punjab police SP Salwinder Singh.
The terrorists had also called another number in Pakistan connected to a Facebook account of ‘Mulla Daadullah’. These accounts, operated by Jaan, were accessed before and around the time of the attack using IP addresses of telecom firms based in Pakistan (Telenor and Pakistan TeleCommunications Company Ltd, Islamabad).
These Facebook pages also contained jihadi material and videos and comments condemning arrest of Jaish cadres in Pakistan by authorities there. The terrorists had also called numbers connected to Al-Rahmat Trust – JeM’s financial arm – for which technical details were sought from the US.
The NIA had approached the US to provide details of these accounts and chats, which have been shared in full, said sources. TOI is not reporting the mobile numbers used by terrorists in India and Pakistan as these are a matter of investigation.
The proof shared by the US through MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty) will strengthen India’s case ahead of home minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Islamabad next week for the Saarc interior ministers’ and home ministers’ conference. It can also help in India renewing its plea that the UNSC sanction Masood Azar as a terrorist.