Pathankot attack: NIA names Azhar and JeM in charge sheet

RSTV Bureau

PATHANKOT-TERROR-ATTACK-0401The National Investigative Agency (NIA) has named Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar in the charge sheet in the Pathankot airbase terror attack case.

The terror strike which took place on January 2, 2016 had killed eight people including seven personnel of IAF and NSG. The four terrorists, after entering India from Bamiyal area of Gurdaspur, had carried out the strike at Pathankot IAF base.

The NIA has named Masood Azhar and three others who also belong to the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. Azhar’s brother Rauf Asghar has also been named as an accused.

The charge sheet said that the four terrorists — Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayoom– who were Pakistani nationals belonging to Jaish, had entered the premises at 0840 hours of January 1, 2016 and entrenched themselves in a drain and
adjacent shed belonging to Military Engineering Services. The terrorists engaged in a gunfight only at 0320 hours of January two, 19 hours after they had entered the IAF base.

Overall, the charge sheet which has been filed at Panchkula Special Court, highlights the role of the terror group in spreading mayhem in India, sources revealed.

The charge sheet is likely to be used by India at various international fora to highlight the role of Masood Azhar in Pathankot terror strike. The diplomatic offensive against Azhar will come in handy to counter China’s continued stonewalling of India’s efforts to get UN sanctions against Azhar and JeM. Azhar is one of three prisoners released by India in exchange for passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999.

The Home Ministry had given sanction to NIA to file the charge sheet against Azhar, his brother and the two handlers — Qashif Jan and Shaid Latif – of the four terrorists, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The charge sheet includes evidence of linking the footprints of one of the terrorists obtained from Bamiyal besides matching of DNA sample found from a soft drink can in the hijacked car of Punjab Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, the sources said.

The Pathankot terror strike had seen a joint investigation team from Pakistan also arriving in India for carrying out a probe.

However, the Pakistani team, upon their return, claimed that India neither shared much of evidence nor allowed it to interrogate the security personnel involved in dealing with the attack.

(With inputs from PTI)