Masood Floats New Terrorist Outfit
18 August 2003
The Asian Age
Islamabad: The leader of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed group has floated a new outfit in Pakistan, vowing to fight on in Jammu and Kashmir. Masood Azhar's new organisation is called Anjuman Khuddam-i-Islam or Organisation of Savants of Islam. 'This new outfit will continue our mission for peace, complete peace in the region,' Azhar said on telephone from Bahawalpur in Punjab province. He said, 'No one in our organisation is a terrorist,' but added 'We will continue our crusade in Kashmir till the achievement of the objective of freedom.' Pakistan in 2001 banned Jaish, a group also proscribed by India and the US Azhar had formed it after he was released from an Indian jail in exchange for hijack hostages in 1999. He was arrested in Pakistan in January last year when Islamabad promised to crack down on extremists. He was released in June this year. On the peace process, he said: 'The exchange of delegations of parliamentarians, journalists, students; a friendship bus service; and trains cannot establish ties between India and Pakistan unless the core issue of Kashmir is resolved.' He said Islamabad should keep in mind that India dismembered Pakistan in 1971, by helping create Bangladesh.