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Pakistan looks to Masood Azhar as it plans major offensive in India

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New Delhi, Sep 09: Indian Intelligence officials have said that Pakistan may have secretly released Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar from protective custody.

This move comes after the United Nations had in May 2019 designated Azhar as a terrorist. The move came after China lifted its technical hold on the proposal by the US, UK and France.

File photo of Maulana Masood Azhar

Recently, India designated Azhar and Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief as terrorists under the new anti-terror law. Both became the first two individuals to be banned under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Under the amended act, an individual can be designated as a terrorist. The government can impose a travel ban, seize passports and also confiscate their properties under the amended version of the act.

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    In addition to the release, the Intelligence has also conveyed to the security forces about the possible build-up of terrorists along with the border areas. Pakistan has been planning a major infiltration drive in the aftermath of India abrogating Article 370.

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    The release of Azhar could be timed with this move by Pakistan. Officials tell OneIndia that the cadre of the JeM was extremely dejected with the arrest of their chief.

    If Azhar is out, he can mobilise the outfit better and also plan and execute terror acts effectively.

    Pakistan is on over-drive mode, following the abrogation of Article 370. Apart from planning a blood bath in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has also deployed over 100 Special Service Group commandos along the Line of Control (LoC).

    There have been ceasefire violations that have been reported and the SSC Commandos have been involved in the same.

    The intelligence has stated that Pakistan would be on over-drive mode and would not only look to raise tensions along the border but also launch terrorists into the Valley. With the government easing restrictions in a phased manner, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has advised that the forces remain on a very high state of alert.

    Pakistan is trying to push at least 100 terrorists in Kashmir from Afghanistan.

    With there being a lockdown in the Valley following the abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan would look for the curbs to ease out, before it tried and implements its larger design to push 100 terrorists into the Valley in a bid to cause havoc.

    In addition, around 15 Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists are already waiting at the terror launch-pads in Lipa valley along the Line of Control (LoC) on the Pakistani side to infiltrate in Kashmir, Intelligence reports suggest.

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    According to intelligence inputs, Pakistan-based terror groups may target vital installations in several key Indian cities in the next few weeks, sources said.

    Pakistan's plan is to trigger series of terror attacks in Kashmir to project to the international community that situation in the Valley is fast deteriorating following India's decision to withdraw special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories, they said.

    "We have credible intelligence that Pakistan is bringing over 100 hardcore terrorists from Afghanistan and they will be pushed into Kashmir in the next few weeks," said a military source.

    Mufti Rauf Asghar, brother of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar, held meetings with top commanders of the terror outfit at its Bahawalpur headquarters on August 19 and 20 with a primary agenda of pushing hardcore terrorists into Kashmir, sources claimed.

    Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making provocative statements targeting India following its decisions on Kashmir and even suggested recently that a Pulwama-like terror attack may take place again.

    According to Pakistan's assessment, the local terrorists in Kashmir are not properly trained, have low self-life and there was a leadership crisis among them in the Valley because of vigorous anti-terror operations, the sources said.

    "That is why Pakistan is bringing battle-hardened terrorists from Afghanistan", they added.

    Sources claimed Pakistan has set up Kashmir desks at all its foreign missions to carry out anti-India propaganda in the wake of India's decisions on J&K.

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