Lahore, May 1 (ANI): Pakistani investigation agencies probing the abduction of former Inter Services Intelligence official Squadron Leader Khalid Khwaja and his subsequent murder believe that the Asian Tigers, the group which took the responsibility for Khwaja's assassination, is actually a cover for top militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri's led Harkatul Jihadul Islami (HUJI).
According to sources, Pakistani officials have credible input that Kashmiri is currently in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan where the bullet riddled body of Khwaja was recovered on Friday (April 30), almost a month after he was abducted with his former ISI colleague Colonel Sultan Amir Tarar, commonly known as Colonel Imam and a British journalist of Pakistani origin, Asad Qureshi.
Sources said that all the three kidnapped persons who were last seen in Mir Ali, were in touch with one Usman Punjabi before they went missing. Officials probing the abduction believe that Usman was actually a 'mole' of Kashmiri to catch Khawaja and Imam, The News reports.
Reading into Khawaja's statement from the video, which was released by his abductors just a few days ago, Pakistani investigators have drawn the conclusion that the abduction of the former ISI officials has something to do with the rift among the various Kashmir centered jihadi groups which operate from Pakistani soil.
They cited Khawaja's remarks in the video that certain jihadi commanders such as Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil, Maulana Masood Azhar and Abdullah Shah Mazhar and jihadi groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Al Badr are still operating as ISI proxies and allowed to collect funds in Pakistan.
"As a matter of fact, while the leaders of the three mainstream Kashmir jihadi groups, JeM, LeT and HuM, are still allowed to move freely across Pakistan despite being proscribed by the government, Ilyas Kashmiri has been declared as one of the most wanted fugitive commanders," the newspaper said.
Kashmiri was arrested by the Pakistani authorities after the December 2003 twin suicide attacks on the then President General Pervez Musharraf's carcade in Rawalpindi, but was released two weeks later due to the lack of evidence.
He is said to have been running a terror training camp in Pakistan occupied Kashmir's (PoK) Kotli area, but in the recent past he is believed to have shifted most of his 'warriors' to North Waziristan. (ANI)