New Delhi, May 18: The similarity between the number one and 3 in the ranks of the Jaish-e-Mohammad is that both had spent time in Indian jails before being handed over to Pakistan. In the case of Maulana Masood Azhar he was handed over following the Khandahar hijack.
In the case of Shahid Latif, he was deported to Pakistan after he completed his jail term in 2010.
Following the release of Azhar, India witnessed the Parliament and Pathankot attacks. Latif after his return to Pakistan went back to the Jaish-e-Mohammad camp and played a crucial role in attacking police stations and army units in Kashmir apart. Latif was also a key player in the Pathankot attack.
Stronger after their return:
Maulana Masood Azhar had visited Kashmir as a journalist. The agencies found him to extremely suspicious and when they found that he had come to India on a reconnaissance mission, they arrested him.
However the ISI decided to help him out and staged the Khandahar hijack. Azhar's brother Assad who masterminded the hijack ensured that his brother was handed over in exchange for the hostages aboard IC-814.
After the return of Masood Azhar, the Jaish-e-Mohammad was formed. The primary objective of the outfit was to wage a war in Kashmir at the behest of the ISI. However they announced their arrival by staging the Parliament attack an attempt to hit out at the Indian democracy.
The case of Latif is no different. When he was arrested in 1994 in Jammu for carrying out an attack on the Hazrat Bal Shrine, he was a small player.
He was part of the same group that was headed by Azhar, but at that time around the Jaish-e-Mohammad had not been formed as yet. He was convicted in 1996 and shifted to Varanasi due to security reasons.
After he completed his term, the Indian government wrote to Pakistan to identify him and also confirm his citizenship.
Following a confirmation, he along with 20 others were deported in the year 2010 through the Wagah-Attari border.
Following his return he joined the Jaish-e-Mohammad. In a span of three years he became an important person and according to the NIA he is ranked three in the outfit.
The name of Latif cropped up during the Pathankot probe in which it was found that he was the one who had dropped off the terrorists at the border.