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ISI agent arrested in Meerut

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New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) arrested Mohammad Ezaz, suspected to be a Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agent, from Meerut on Friday. He was found to have classified information relating to the military establishment and evidence of information exchange with his Pakistani counterpart.

Inspector General Sujit Pandey of UP STF said, in an interview to a newspaper, that the suspect had already sent confidential data regarding Indian military establishments and the scheduled movement of Army units to Pakistan.

He also mentioned that Ezaz had pictures and videos of an emergency landing of the Mirage 2000 fighter jet on Yamuna Expressway, the movements of the mountain brigade at Pithoragarh along with visuals of an under-construction runway. His bank account transactions in India showed operations of more than Rs 6 lakh in the last two years.

“He sneaked into India from Bangladesh on February 9, 2013. He has already handed over classified information on the movement of the Sukhoi 30 combat aircraft and their hangars. He has sent his handlers information on cantonments in Bareilly, Meerut, Agra, Pithoragarh, Shahjahanpur and Mathura. He was in contact with a man called Salim, an officer of the ISI. His family was receiving Rs 50,000 per month in Pakistan for his services,” informed Pandey.

In addition to the classified documents, investigators in Meerut found out a fake Aadhar card of him with his wrong Bareilly address, a fraud voter ID card prepared in West Bengal, a Delhi Metro traveller card, and Nepali and Saudi currency from him. His laptop, pen drive and ATM card were seized. An NADRA card (Pakistani national identity card) was also found with him, according to the IG.

Suspect Mohammad Ezaz is said to be a citizen of Islamabad in Pakistan and was living in Bareilly district of UP for the last few weeks according to the STF.

However, the Indian investigative agencies had received specific inputs on a similar activity, where a meeting between commanders of three Islamic terror outfits- Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and the Pakistan’s ISI to chalk out plans to carry out attacks on Indian soil.

The terrorists are reported to be highly trained and were instructed to cross the border into India before snow blocks the routes in the upper reaches, the intelligence reports claimed. A report also suggested that ISI was not only providing logistic support for carrying out the attacks, but it also held a detailed briefing of 30 terrorists from the three outfits in a camp somewhere in Pak-occupied Kashmir (POK).

(Image: http://aseema.net.in/)

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EU Analyses Designating Pakistani Militant Leader Masood Azhar a Terrorist

JeM is already a U.S.- and U.N.-designated terror group

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FILE - Indian activists carry placards of the leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group, Masood Azhar, during a protest denouncing an attack on the Indian air force base in Pathankot, in Mumbai, India, Jan. 4, 2016. VOA

The European Union is reportedly contemplating designating the leader of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) a terrorist.

The EU’s decision comes nearly a week after a push by France and India to declare JeM leader Masood Azhar a terrorist and freeze his assets.

JeM is already a U.S.- and U.N.-designated terror group.

Focus on Kashmir

Azhar is an Islamist extremist who wants to end Indian control of a portion of the disputed Kashmir area and merge it with Pakistan. He was born in 1968 in Pakistan’s Punjab province in a Deobandi (Sunni sect) Muslim family.

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Azhar founded Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2000 and maintained his affiliation with several terror groups, including al-Qaida, Hurkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), all U.S.-designated terror groups. Wikimedia

He reportedly received his early education in Bahawalpur, Punjab, and later enrolled in Jamia-ul-Uloom, an Islamic seminary in Karachi, where he became a teacher.

Azhar founded Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2000 and maintained his affiliation with several terror groups, including al-Qaida, Hurkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), all U.S.-designated terror groups.

JeM is believed to be based in the Peshawar region of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Azhar received his militant training in Afghanistan in the 1980s and fought Soviet troops there.

Spurred by jihad decree

Azhar reportedly traveled to Afghanistan in 1988 with his brother, Ibrahim Azhar, who according to analysts played a key role in shaping Masood’s religious ideology.

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FILE – Muslim cleric Masood Azhar arrives at Karachi airport, Jan. 22, 2000. VOA

“Azhar himself mentioned in one of the articles that his inclination towards jihad started when Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, head of the Karachi Jamia-ul-Uloom at that time, issued an Islamic decree for students to go and participate in Afghan jihad,” Mujahid Hussain, an author and expert on terror outfits, told VOA.

It was during his time in Afghanistan that Azhar developed a relationship with al-Qaida and its leadership, and later worked closely with the terror group.

Azhar traveled to several countries, including Britain, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, India and Bangladesh, to raise funds and recruit youth toward jihad.

He has written over 20 books on Islamic history and the importance of jihad.

Location a mystery

Azhar’s current whereabouts are unknown. Some experts in Pakistan believe he is living in Bahawalpur, a city in southern Punjab.

jem, masood azhar, pakistani
Azhar traveled to several countries, including Britain, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, India and Bangladesh, to raise funds and recruit youth toward jihad. Wikimedia

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“I personally know many people who have met Azhar in Bahawalpur. Azhar reportedly goes to the mosques, gives sermons and greets people. And he continues to write for JeM’s magazine,” Hussain said.

On Feb. 5, when various religious parties throughout Pakistan marked Kashmir Day, an audio clip of Azhar was played during a JeM rally in Karachi. In the audio, Azhar invited people toward jihad.

“Stay determined,” he said. “And instead of going one by one, if you all go out there together as a group, India won’t be able to stand us for even one month. (VOA)