New Delhi, Jan 8: The Kandahar hijack nightmare is something that the entire country will remember for a long time. The Pathankot attack is no different and the usual suspects are back in action.
Rauf Asghar, the brother of Maulana Masoor Azhar who plotted the Khandahar hijack is the man behind the Pathankot strikes as well, investigations have learnt.
Maulana Azhar who is the ideological head of the Jaish-e-Mohammad is an important figure no doubt, but India would expect immediate action against Rauf as he is the operations man of the outfit.
In the communication between India and Pakistan post Pathankot, there has been a lot of emphasis on getting to Rauf when compared to Azhar.
Read More: Timeline of Pathankot terror attack
From Khandahar, Parliament to Pathankot:
Rauf has been in the thick of the action for the JeM since the Kandahar hijack. A hardened militant who does not see beyond an anti India tirade, Rauf has been the backbone for Azhar.
He is systematic in his approach and extremely close to the Pakistan's ISI. He even had a role in plotting the assassination of Pakistan's former President, General Pervez Musharaff.
However following this failed plot on Musharaff, he had a falling out with the Pakistan army and the ISI. It was General Asfhaq Kayani who brought Rauf back to relevance after the latter struck a truce with the Paksitan army.
The preliminary investigations have shown the Pathankot attack was planned by Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Rauf Asghar, Maulana Ashfaq Ahmad, Hafiz Abdul Shakur and Kasim Jan. India has sought action against these persons.
Action against Rauf would be important to weaken the JeM, Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say. When his brother Azhar was arrested and spent six years in a Jammu jail, it was Rauf who plotted the Khandahar hijack. The hijack was plotted to secure the release of his brother.
Following the release of Azhar, the JeM regrouped and shortly after that Rauf plotted and executed the brutal attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. Rauf according to officials has a great command over the cadres. He has been backed by the Pakistan army for long and has over the years turned out to be their most important proxy.