Jaish: Small but not to be ignored
7 October 2001
New Delhi: The Jaish-e-Mohammad, though not yet banned by the USA, is one militant organisation that has taken a strong anti-American stand in the past. The outfit, funded by the Pakistani ISI, is led by Maulana Masood Azhar, who was released from an Indian jail in January last year in exchange for passengers on the IC-814 flight hijacked to Kandahar. According to Indian officials the organisation is still comparatively small but Masood’s speeches against the USA were so critical that Pakistani authorities were forced to move him to Bhawalpur, a small town, out of the public eye. Even during the IC- 814 hijack the hijackers told passengers on the plane about the “evil deeds of the US government.” Later, the American Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned the pilot of the plane, Captain Devi Sharan and others on the flight about the anti-American propaganda by the hijackers. None of them have been arrested so far. They were last seen moving toward the Pakistan border from Afghanistan. The Jaish-e- Mohammad, less than two years old, has continued its terror tactics even when the Musharraf government appeared to be distancing itself from the militancy. This has surprised officials as the Jaish-e- Mohammad is seen as a creation of the ISI unlike the larger Lashkar-e- Taiyaba, which is funded by West Asian organisations as well. The Jaish-e-Mohammad is now quite active with its men being trained in camps in Pakistan, including Kahuta, Hazira, Rawalkot and Palandri opposite Poonch, Aliabad, Putwal and Sialkot opposite Jammu, Zaffarwal, Dudhniyal and Kel opposite the Kupwara sector and in camps north of the Kargil area. The Jaish-e-Mohammad has a few hundred activists and many of them are sufficiently indoctrinated to be suicide bombers. The J&K Assembly bombing incident is the latest attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammad.