Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan issues arrest warrant against Masood Azhar, mastermind behind Pulwama attack

Sreya Kanugula

The Anti-terrorism Court of Gujranwala in Pakistan issued an official warrant to arrest Masood Azhar. Azahar is the chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) organization and is known as the mastermind behind the Pulwama terror attack. This is just a few days after two other dreaded terrorists have also been arrested.

JeM claimed culpability for the terror attack on Pulwama, as well as for the deaths of 40 CRPF soldiers that died in the attack.

After a lot of international pressure following the attack on Pulwama, the government of Pakistan arrested several members of banned militant outfits and a part of those 100+ members arrested were Azhar as well as his brother.

The warrant was issued against a few other JeM members as well during a part of the Terror Funding case’s hearing. The hearing had been initiated by the Police of Punjab’s CTD Department (aligned with anti-terrorism).

This Punjab team stated that they raided JeM’s quarters and safehouses before they arrested a few of their members and retrieved several lakh rupees from them. These members were Muhammad Iftikhar, Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Afzal, Muhammad Ajmal, Allah Ditta, and Muhammad Bilal Makki.

They were interrogated and a charge sheet was submitted against them on the suspicion that they were helping with the collection of funds for JeM’s finances.

An officer stated that the ATC judge of Gujranwala, Natasha Nasim Supra issued the arrest warrant on January 7, 2021, against Azhar on financing terrorism charges. The Punjab CTD department was ordered to ensure his arrest and present the man in front of the court.

The department, in turn, informed the judge that JeM was also part of paying for the major terrorist attack they claimed responsibility for and that Azhar sells literature of jihadi nature.

The officer also added that the arrest warrant for Azhar was issued by the ATC judge after a CTD inspector requested her to do so. They have the intelligence of Azhar’s whereabouts to be located somewhere safe in the city of Bahawalpur, which is his native place.

Right after the Pulwama attack in February of 2019, Pakistan’s Punjab police began a rigorous campaign against funding terrorism and placed the arrests of over 6 JeM activists in the city of Gujranwala, in this very case.