The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), the Army of Mohammed, is an Islamic extremist group based in Pakistan that was formed by Masood Azhar upon his release from prison in India in early 2000. The group's aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan. It is politically aligned with the radical political party, Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F). The United States announced the addition of JEM to the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control's (OFAC) list-which includes organizations that are believed to support terrorist groups and have assets in US jurisdiction that can be frozen or controlled-in October and the Foreign Terrorist Organization list in December 2001.
When Masud Azhar formed JEM, he originally named his group, Lashkar-e-Mohammad. But Azam Tariq adbvised Masud Azhar that this name sounds too much like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. So he changed the name to Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The JEM's leader, Masood Azhar, was released from Indian imprisonment in December 1999 in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages. The 1994 HUA kidnappings by Omar Sheikh of US and British nationals in New Delhi and the July 1995 HUA/Al Faran kidnappings of Westerners in Kashmir were two of several previous HUA efforts to free Azhar. The JEM on 1 October 2001 claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar that killed at least 31 persons, but later denied the claim.
Five militants of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) stormed the heavily guarded parliament complex in New Delhi on December 13, 2001, armed with grenades, guns and explosives, but security forces killed them before they could enter the main chamber. The Indian Government publicly implicated the JEM, along with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba for the 13 December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed 9 and injured 18. India blamed the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jaish e-Mohammed terrorist groups for the attack. India demanded that Pakistan prevent such terrorist groups from operating out of Pakistan or Pakistan-controlled territory. Since December 2001, Pakistan cracked down on Islamic extremists. They include leaders of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, as well as members of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami, a Muslim party with ties to the Taleban and Kashmiri terrorist groups. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pledged that Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for terrorism. The group was banned and its assets were frozen by the Pakistani Government in January 2002.
Pakistani authorities suspect that perpetrators of fatal anti-Christian attacks in Islamabad, Murree, and Taxila, during 2002 were affiliated with the JEM.
Jaish-e-Mohammed has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions, including a large cadre of former HUM members. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. Uses light and heavy machineguns, assault rifles, mortars, improvised explosive devices, and rocket grenades.
The group is based in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, but members conduct terrorist activities primarily in Kashmir. The JEM maintained training camps in Afghanistan until the fall of 2001.
Most of the JEM's cadre and material resources have been drawn from the militant groups Harakat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) and the Harakat ul-Mujahedin (HUM). The JEM had close ties to Afghan Arabs and the Taliban. Usama Bin Ladin is suspected of giving funding to the JEM. The JEM also collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets. In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani Government, the JEM withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods.
Jaish-e-Mohammed was linked to the kidnapping and beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi.
India executed Mohammed Afzal Guru, a former fruit seller, for his role in the 2001 parliament bombing, on the morning of 09 February 2013. Guru was found guilty of conspiring with and sheltering the militants who attacked the parliament building in New Delhi. He was also held guilty of being a member of the banned jihadi group Jaish-e-Mohammed. This is the second execution India had carried out since 2004. The first was the hanging of the sole gunman, Ajmal Kasab, caught alive following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in November 2012.
The dialogue between India and Pakistan largely ceased following the 2016 terror attack on an Indian Air Force Station in India's Pathankot, the Policy Times noted. During January 2, 2016, attack, six terrorists killed ten Indian military personnel and wounded 22. The Indian government put responsibility for the attack on the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group, which operates in the mountainous contested region of Kashmir.
Pakistan arrested the leader of an outlawed militant group that had fought Indian rule in Kashmir for decades in a sweep of militants suspected of attacking an Indian air base in January 2016. In addition to putting the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Maulana Masood Azhar, into "protective custody," Pakistani authorities said 15 January 2016 they had closed several religious schools run by the group, which India charged was behind the attack that killed seven Indian soldiers on 02 January 2016.
The moves were in answer to Indian charges that Pakistan has been harboring the radicals. Concern about the attack led India to postpone previously scheduled talks between the two regional powers. India said that phone intercepts suggested the gunmen in the assault on Pathankot air base came from Pakistan, though a Kashmir-based group, United Jehad Council, had claimed responsibility.
India hasn’t provided “solid evidence” against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar for China to support the move to sanction him at the United Nations, Beijing said Friday ahead of a strategic dialogue between the two countries, Hindustan Times reported 17 February 2017. The issue of China repeatedly blocking India’s move to ban Azhar under the UN Security Council’s 1267 committee featured in the talks to be held in Beijing on 22 February 2017.
In a breakthrough, a joint team of security forces killed top Jaish-e-Mohammed militant commander Umer Khalid in Ladoora area of North Kashmir, police said 09 October 2017. Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid said it was a major breakthrough for the security forces as the militant was involved in many attacks on security camps in North Kashmir as well as targeting policemen in particular. “He was killed in a joint operation by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Special Operation Group, local police, the CRPF and the Army,” he said.
Khalid, who was a Pakistani national, had been operational in the area for last two to three years and was also instrumental in arranging recruits for the terror outfit, police said. He had recently carried out an attack on a Special Police Officer and his seven-year-old son at Handwara, they said and added that Khalid was a A++ category top ranking terrorist and carried a cash reward of nearly Rs 7 lakh.
Giving details of the encounter, the police said security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Ladoora area following information about the presence of militants in the area. The search operation turned into a gun battle when the militants opened fire on the search party, the police said, adding more troops were rushed to the area to prevent the militants from escaping. The Jaish commander was killed in the encounter, they said.
Following the reports of large scale infiltration bid planned by militants from across the Line of Control, security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on high alert, officials said on 01 June 2018. There are reports of infiltration of over 20 militants into Kashmir from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) recently, the officials said. They said most of the militants are believed to be affiliated to Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit headed by Maulana Masood Azhar.
The security grid is apprehending a spike in militant attacks in the state, particularly in the Valley, the officials said. The security forces have been asked to remain on a high alert and maintain vigil around sensitive security installations across the state, they said. The officials said it is rare for such a large number of militants to infiltrate in one go and indicated the desperation of their handlers across the LoC to keep the Kashmir pot boiling.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan criticized New Delhi for not being ready for a dialogue with Islamabad. Speaking during his two-day visit to Turkey, on 06 January 2019 Imran Khan said "We are trying to have a dialogue. Trying to move towards a friendly relationship with India. We had a stand-off with India and India refuses to talk to Pakistan under the pretext that until Pakistan stops terrorism, India will not talk to us," Imran said, adding that, "it's a bizarre situation where we feel how you can move forward if there is no dialogue." In his first interview in 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that "[Indian] government never opposed dialogue but amid the noise of bombs and guns, the dialogue cannot be heard."
Delhi Police arrested two alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists of Jammu and Kashmir who were planning to carry out terror strikes in New Delhi during Republic Day celebrations. Briefing reporters in New Delhi, DCP, Special Cell, Pramod Singh Kushwaha said, one of them was arrested with incriminating materials from Rajghat on the intervening night of 20-21 January 2019. He was the mastermind of the recent spree of throwing grenades in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The other was nabbed from Bandipora in Kashmir.
More than 2,500 CRPF personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir around 3.15 pm on 14 February 2019. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place about 20 km from Srinagar, officials had said. Police identified the suicide bomber as Adil Ahmed, who officials said joined the Jaish in 2018. The powerful explosion, which reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron, was heard many kilometres away, including in some parts of Srinagar adjoining Pulwama district. It is estimated that about 70-80 kgs of high grade explosive was used in the blast.
The toll in the terror attack on CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district has risen to 40, a senior official said 15 February 2019. A Jaish suicide bomber Thursday rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into a bus carrying CRPF personnel in Pulwama district. “A total of 40 personnel have been killed in Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir. Five troops are injured,” the senior official said.
In the wake of the incident, the CRPF has issued a ‘high vigil’ alert to all its formations in the Kashmir Valley and other places in the state. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General R R Bhatnagar and senior officials of the force left for Kashmir as part of a team led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. They also met the injured who were admitted to the 92 base hospital of the Army in Srinagar.
Warning Pakistan that it cannot weaken India by orchestrating attacks such as the one on CRPF jawans in Pulwama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said those responsible will pay “a very heavy price” and security forces will be given a free hand to deal with terrorists. In a hard-hitting speech, Modi said the “blood of the people is boiling” and forces behind the act of terrorism will be definitely be punished. “Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling… Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise,” Modi said at a function to flag off the Vande Bharat Express, India’s fastest train from Delhi to Varanasi.
China expressed deep “shock” over the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but did not give an assurance to India that it will back New Delhi’s appeal to list the UN-proscribed Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang told a media briefing “JeM as an organisation has been included in the sanctions list of the Security Council. As to the listing of an individual, we have always upheld an earnest, responsible and professional manner. We always acted in accordance with the requirement of the situation. We will continue to maintain close communication with India and relevant parties on this issue”.
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