Indian security agencies have identified 154 Pakistani terrorists operating out of Kashmir at present and shared their names with Pakistan. These terrorists have been trained by a senior Jaish-e-Mohammad commander, Nasir Javed in Muzaffarabad to carry out terror strikes in the valley and beyond. The list of these 154 names, along with information of the areas in Kashmir where they have been asked to carry out terror strikes, was given by India to Pakistan at the National Security Advisor (NSA) level meeting that took place in Thailand in December 2017.
After the killing of high value targets such as Abu Dujana, who was a senior commander of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), and other most wanted terrorists in the valley last year, Pakistan overhauled its entire mechanism responsible for spreading terror in the valley and increased manpower in its Muzaffarabad terrorist training camp so that an increasing number of terrorists can be trained and dispatched to India quickly.
In view of this new thrust, the ISI has also activated the Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar-led Al-Umar Mujahideen, the indigenous terror group which operates in the Kashmir valley, apart from Hizbul Mujahideen. Zargar is the same individual who was released by the Indian government in the infamous IC-814 hostage swap in December 1999, along with the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Maulana Masood Azhar and Omar Saeed Sheikh.
According to intelligence agencies, Zargar, 52, who is recognised by his alias “Mushtaq Latram”, had gone to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan after he was released in 1999, and continued to work with Masood Azhar, but stayed out of the radar of the Indian agencies by operating in the background.
However, Zargar has now, after the killing of top terrorist commanders, has been entrusted with the responsibility to motivate more and more youths from Pakistan to fight a jihad in India. “He knows Kashmir like the back of his hand and hence ISI has asked him to become active”, an intelligence officer said.
Zargar had become close to Jaish chief Masood Azhar in jail during his incarceration in Kashmir and in Delhi and it was because of this closeness that Azhar made sure that Zargar was released with him during the hostage swap.
A resident of Srinagar, Zargar was among the first to join terrorism in the valley in 1988. He was later arrested from Srinagar in 1993 after his ruthlessness—which included blowing up his victims by tying grenades on their body—caught the eye of the security forces. Zargar, just like Masood Azhar, wants Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan, rather than a sovereign status for Kashmir as is demanded by other terrorist organisations.