The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a chargesheet on Monday against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar for masterminding the January 2, 2016 Pathankot airbase terror attack.
The NIA also named Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf Asghar and his two handlers Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif. Abdul was the deputy chief of the JeM, Kashif Jain was the prime handler and Shahid Latif was the launching commander.
The accused have been charged for offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Court including the Explosive Substances Act, the Arms Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The chargesheet also mentioned the four slain JeM terrorists who carried out the attack and killed after two days of gun fight – Umar Farooq, Nasir Hussain, Abdul Qayum and Hafiz Abu Bakar. They were the residents of Sanghar (Sindh), Vehari (Punjab), Sukkur (Sindh) and Gujranwala (Punjab) of Pakistan respectively.
After the Pathankot attack, Azhar’s brother Ashgar hosted a video message in which he claimed the responsibility of the attack and praising the role of Azhar.
In January, the four terrorists entered India from Bamiyal area of Gurdaspur and then carried out the strike at Pathankot IAF base killing 8 people including seven IAF personnel and National Security Guard.
The NIA had technical and forensic evidence which proved the JeM involvement in the January 2 terror attack. The US also provided some vital information in the form of chats and email conversation.
According to the sources, investigators found footprints of one of the terrorists from Bamiyal. Also, the DNA sample found from a soft drink can was matched. The can was found from the hijacked car of Punjab Superintend of Police Salwinder Singh.
However, despite several reminders through the external affairs ministry Pakistan has not provided any evidence and remained silent on allowing an NIA team to visit. It has not allowed Azhar and other suspected militants as well.
Until now, Pakistan has not responded on Interpol’s red corner notice issued against the suspects, which shares evidence like phone conversations of the four terrorists, family members’ details, their addresses, messages of JeM handlers and financial details of Al-Rehmat Trust (financial arm of JeM).