New Delhi: The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has alerted the government with the fact that the Pakistani establishment has released Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar to carry out terror attacks in India. The agency has informed the government that Pakistan has deployed troopers along the border near Rajasthan to back the JeM terrorists. Two IB officers aware of the developments informed the press.
As per the intelligence input, Pakistan is planning some “big action” in the Sialkot-Jammu range as well as Rajasthan sectors shortly in response to the government’s move to revoke Article 370. Pakistan considers the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir as an inconvenience in managing the terrorists it sponsors, as the ability of the overground sympathisers of the Islamic cause that masquerade as mere separatists and not terrorists stands curbed. Besides, a fresh terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir will help Pakistan tell the international community in general and forums like the FATF in particular that the ‘locals’ have revolted, much as the chances of that are now slim with increasing isolation of Pakistan in the comity of nations.
The IB conveyed the information to the Border Security Force and the Indian Army deployed in Jammu and Rajasthan sectors “to avoid any surprises” from the Pakistani Army. They have asked the Indian troops to remain alert, the officials cited above said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Friday threatened “fullest possible response” to India’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir. Khan had said the global community would be responsible for any “catastrophic” aftermath. While India is no longer responding to every rhetoric with a statement of its own unlike the yesteryears, it has communicated to the world the need to turn Article 370 defunct and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. Further, Indian diplomacy is clearly at work in the international isolation of Pakistan.
War-mongering by Khan goes hand-in-hand with Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa saying they were prepared to “go till any extent”. Bajwa said Pakistan was ready to “give sacrifices for our Kashmiri brothers, fulfil our duty till the last bullet, last soldiers and last breath”. This implies that “Pakistan may try to use the current situation and the Indian government’s focus in Jammu and Kashmir to target somewhere else,” said an IB officer.
In this scenario, the IB informed the government that Pakistan had “secretly” released JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar to plan terrorist operations while other terror organisations were also working openly. Following the 14 February car bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, Pakistani agencies had taken Azhar into protective custody.
JeM had taken responsibility for the attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. This provoked India to carry out airstrikes on the group’s terrorist training camp in Pakistani town of Balakot on 26 February.
According to the IB, Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was taken aback by the virtual abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August. “This is being taken as the ISI’s biggest intelligence failure in history and now they are under pressure to act,” the official said.
India declared the JeM honcho, wanted in India for several attacks since AB Vajpayee government returned him in exchange of air hostages under domestic political pressure, including the 2016 Pathankot airbase attack, and four others as individual terrorists on 4 August under the amended UAPA, the anti-terror law passed in August.
National security adviser Ajit Doval had told journalists on Saturday that Pakistan was trying to foment trouble. Some 230 terrorists had been spotted across the border, he had said.
There have been sporadic skirmishes along the India-Pakistan border since 5 August. Army chief General Bipin Rawat said, while reviewing India’s security preparedness in Jammu and Kashmir the last week, that Pakistan had reopened terror training camps and was trying to push infiltrators. He said that the Indian Army was ready to give Pakistan a befitting reply to its misadventures.
“Pakistan is under tremendous pressure from the international community over terrorism, failing the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] yardsticks, the economic situation, and others, which are limiting its capacity to respond. It is difficult to predict how Pakistan will respond.” internal security expert Ajai Sahni said while cautioning against taking all the IB inputs at face value.