Pak-based terror outfit JeM chief ailing, bed-ridden for months
It seems like Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is all set for a change of leadership. According to Indian intelligence, JeM chief Masood Azhar is bed-ridden with a life-threatening ailment, leaving the outfit in charge of his two younger brothers, Rauf Asghar and Athar Ibrahim, who are expected to carry out jihadist operations in his stead in India and Afghanistan. Here are the details.
Azhar is held responsible for several terror attacks in India
Azhar, a dreaded Islamist, is largely held responsible for several terror attacks on Indian soil, including the 2001 attack on the Parliament, the 2005 attack in Ayodhya, and the 2016 attack on the Pathankot base. Azhar, who was once in India's custody, was freed in 1999 and transported to Kandahar in exchange for hijacked passengers of Indian Airways Flight 814.
What little details Indian intelligence officers shared
Indian intelligence officials said that Azhar was suffering from ailments that have affected his spinal cord and kidney, without furnishing further details. However, they added that the 50-year-old Azhar was believed to have been treated for his condition at the Combined Military Hospital in Rawalpindi, and has possibly been bed-ridden for almost a year-and-a-half.
Azhar's life-threatening ailment is a big win for India
Meanwhile, Indian diplomats speaking to HT said that while they couldn't confirm Azhar's illness, Azhar had reportedly not been sighted in over a year. Notably, India had initiated the process of getting Azhar branded as a global terrorist by the UN, but the move had been blocked by China. Now, with Azhar ailing, India has no need to grease China for Azhar's terrorist designation.
Athar Ibrahim is overseeing attacks on Afghanistan
With Azhar ailing, his younger brother Athar Ibrahim, who carried out the aforementioned flight hijacking, is now handling jihadist attacks in Afghanistan and Balochistan from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. In Afghanistan, the JeM has also joined hands with the Taliban, both of whom share the Deobandi ideology, to carry out attacks against Ashraf Ghani's government.
Terror attacks in India being handled by Rauf Asghar
Meanwhile, Azhar's other brother, Rauf Asghar is currently in charge of terror operations in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. Currently, India is in talks with the Trump administration to get Asghar designated as a global terrorist by the UN 1267 Committee. Progress on the India-US talks, however, is not known as of now.