Masood Azhar
File image of JeM chief Masood Azhar | PTI
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Paris: The Jaish-e-Mohammed has admitted that India attacked its centre in Balakot in Pakistan but claimed that were no casualties in the air strikes that raised tensions between the neighbours to their highest in years.

The Islamist group has also lashed out at Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for “embarrassing the Muslim Ummah by releasing the Indian pilot” and exhorted Pakistanis to join the jihad in Kashmir.

The Jaish comments are contained in an audio recording that has surfaced following the release of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman by Pakistan Friday.

Varthaman was captured by Pakistani forces on Wednesday after his MiG-21 Bison fighter jet was shot down during a fight with Pakistani fighters a day after the Indian air strikes on Balakot. He was released late on Friday.

It is unclear who the main speaker in the audio clip is, but the recording begins with an introduction of the chief guest of the event – Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar, the brother of Masood Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and thanks him for his presence.

Sources in Peshawar said that the audio is from an event held in Peshawar city on Thursday evening at a mosque on G.T. Road called Masjid wa Madrassah Sanan bin Salma.

Other speakers and participants at the event included Moulana Mujahid Abbas, Moulana Qutubuddin, Moulana Nizamuddin, all of who are affiliated with JeM. The event was held to pay tribute to the late Moulana Yousuf Ludhianvi, a Sunni extremist leader who was targeted and killed in Karachi in 2000.

Officially, JeM has been banned in Pakistan since 2002.

Listen to the full audio here:

Desire to become martyrs

In the sermon, the JeM leader begins by saying he has to make some clarification about recent developments regarding the Indian claims of a strike inside Pakistan. He goes on to acknowledge that Indian forces did carry out an airstrike and dropped bombs on their markaz (center) in Balakot where he claims students were learning about the duty of jihad.

The speaker rejects the Indian claim of JeM members being killed in the strike and says that no one was hurt. But he wishes it had been so given that they all desire to embrace martyrdom.

The almost-15-minute sermon goes on to explain that jihad has now become compulsory for every Pakistani Muslim as India has crossed over into Pakistani territory. Jihad, therefore, should no longer be viewed as aggression but rather a means to defend Pakistan, he says.

He also explains how in the past jihad had been interpreted as sponsored by Pakistani “agencies” but it no longer should be called so as India has itself claimed now that it has launched war against Pakistan and therefore Pakistanis must respond.


Also read: Madrassas to military training — how Balakot emerged as largest breeding ground for JeM


Ego tussle

Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc. and an expert on militancy in South Asia, said it is not surprising to see JeM using the Indian action of 26 February as propaganda for its recruitment in Pakistan.

“JeM seems to be using a perhaps unsuccessful Indian action inside Pakistan to further its own agenda of rallying people for jihad,” Siddiqa said.

JeM and other Kashmir focused militant groups, Siddiqa said, continue to operate freely inside Pakistan because they do not pose a threat to Pakistan and serve the Pakistani military’s interest.

“In the current context, it has now also become an ego issue, as the Pakistani authorities wouldn’t want to be seen as capitulating to Indian pressure,” she said.


Also read: Pakistan’s 50-year self-destruction in blood-feud with India & how Imran Khan can halt it


The other Niazi

The JeM leader in the audio recording also criticises PM Imran Khan’s move of releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan by referring to the PM as Niazi, the family name Khan rarely uses.

“Earlier, a Niazi lost half of the country and 90,000 soldiers and today another Niazi has returned the Indian pilot and has turned our victory into our loss. He has bowed down in front of the enemy and has embarrassed the Muslim ummah,” the speaker says, referring to the events of December 1971 when Pakistan Army’s General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi surrendered to India in East Pakistan.

The sermon concludes with the participants being asked to raise anti-Modi, anti-India slogans and a call for jihad in Kashmir.


Also read: India must know it is all alone in its fight against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism


 

Get the PrintEssential to make sense of the day's key developments.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. I want to congratulate THE PRINT for the wide footprint it has managed to establish in a short time. It has a reach far beyond our borders. Taha Siddiqui, from another part of the world was aware of this online forum, cared to reach it, and has thankfully provided us readers of THE PRINT with a very revealing piece about how complicated the situation really is. I heard the speech through the link provided, couldn’t understand it fully because of recording and language problems, but it is clear that these Jaish fanatics are now against even Imran Khan! It’s going to be a long battle for India for sure. The present skirmish is not the end of it.

    I for one will agree with the suggestion which is sometimes heard in the media that it is impossible to weed out these fanatics from Pakistan’s general milieu because they are mixed in it like salt in curry. India should stop exhorting Pakistan’s government of the day to do it. That will result in street shootouts in that country, or some sort of a civil war. No prime minster of a country will want it, that too on the asking of another country. Instead, the two country’s sane leaderships, in the presence of world powers or perhaps UN, sign a document, instead of verbal assurances as of now, that
    “the two countries will NEVER, NEVER USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS AGAINST EACH OTHER.”
    Our neighbors have a roughish mind, they cannot change it, we cannot change our neighbors, so let us resign ourselves to bloodshed, but by conventional weapons. That is the best we can hope for, believe me!

  2. Has the IAF become an agent of BJP Propoganda machine for election by Modiji. It seem first of all the CRP bus destroyed by the Suicide bomber are the picture similar to Balakot Modiji Pakoda bomb on Jem Terrorist site?????.
    Modiji Pakoda bombs fell 100 to 200 metres away and those 50 KGS Yellow colour Pakodas are sitll lying in the field Even the cattle are not going near it.
    NO MORE lying with fake pictures from Syria and Iraq have fiiled up pages as the JEM Bomsite. Please verify before giving these fake news HEADLINE NEWS

  3. anyway the bottomline seems to be that “no one was hurt” according to jaish themselves? So if the target was struck, how is it nobody is hurt? Then what it may mean is that nobody is hurt because the targeting failed, the speaker is more upset about the idea that the targeting was planned even though not executed properly?

  4. Jaish e Mohammad will admit. Pakistan will admit, BUT, Mamata, Naidu & Congress will NOT admit. To them any victory or positive action by the Armed Forces is akin to a propaganda stunt for the BJP. Such is their DEPRAVITY.

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