New Delhi: Ashiq Baba, one of the terrorists arrested for attacking an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir, had got visa to visit Pakistan on the basis of reference letters from Hurriyat leaders, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in a statement on Thursday.
Baba and two other militants — Tariq Ahmed Dar and Muneer-ul-Hassan Qadri — are in the NIA custody in connection with the case. Their interrogation has revealed the involvement of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commanders in the attack on the camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nagrota.
These terrorists were in continuous contact through WhatsApp voice and text messages with Maulana Mufti Ashghar based in Muzaffarabad whose nephew Waqas, a JeM commander in South Kashmir, died in an encounter near Pulwama recently, it said.
Besides Ashghar, they were in touch with Qari Zarar, a Rawalpindi-based commander in charge of launching terrorists in Jammu region, and Waseem and Abu Talha — both in charge of launching terrorists along the Jammu region, the statement said.
In furtherance of the conspiracy to conduct attacks on the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, terrorist Ashiq Baba visited Pakistan four times crossing the Wagah border between 2015 and 2017 legally, it said.
“He obtained his visas after getting reference letters from Huriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Gani Bhat and Maulana Umar Farooq,” the NIA said.
During his visits, he met with JeM commanders and took directions from them after getting clearance from a local ISI agent, it said.
“Ashiq Baba thereafter on return, received instructions on how and when to receive the group of terrorists. Around a week prior to the attack, he and the other arrested terrorist Muneer were given the GPS coordinates of the receiving point along the Samba sector highway as well as of the possible targets along the Nagrota Army cantonment through WhatsApp from their handlers in Pakistan,” the agency said, adding that they were asked to recee these targets.
Ashiq went with Muneer, and was later joined by the accused Tariq, and finalised the receiving point and the target. Officers mess complex of 166 Medium Regiment at Nagrota was chosen due to its convenient location towards the end of the cantonment, it said.
After finalisation, the points were passed on WhatsApp to the JeM commanders in Pakistan, the statement said. They then received a group of three attackers a day before the attack (November 28, 2016 in early morning hours) at the decided location. The terrorists changed their clothes near the highway after they were received by Ashiq Baba, Muneer and Tariq, it said.
They then travelled in two vehicles to Jammu after keeping their weapons concealed in the dickey of one of the two cars owned by Tariq and Ashiq Baba. They parked the car having the weapons at a paid parking slot and then stayed at a hotel in Jammu.
The same day, Ashiq took the commander among the attackers namely Abu Hisham to Nagrota to show him the site of the attack and came back to the hotel, their interrogation has revealed.
Later in the night, these Indian terrorists left for the attack site along with the Pakistani attackers, dropped them near the attack site and left for Srinagar, the NIA said.