Maulana Masood Azhar

Maulana Masood Azhar

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Maulana Masood Azhar is a Pakistani mujaheddin leader and the founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed is a Pakistani-based, militant Islamic group established by Maulana Masood Azhar in March 2000...

, based mainly in the Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

-administered portion of the state of Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

.

India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 lists Masood Azhar as one of its most wanted terrorists due to a history of militant activities.

Early life


Azhar was born in Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur , located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs and counted as part of the Rajputana states...

 on July 10, 1968 as one of ten siblings although some sources list his birth date as August 7, 1968 as the third of 11 children. His father, Allah Bakhsh Shabir, was the headmaster at a government-run school, and his family operated a dairy and poultry farm. Azhar studied at the Jamia Uloom ul Islamia Banuri Town in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, where he became involved with Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat ul-Ansar was an Islamic militant organization founded by Abdelkader Mokhtari in 1993. It was the result of a merger between the groups Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami . Many of its operations were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir.Soon after its founding, several members of...

. After he suffered injuries in the Soviet-Afghan War, Azhar was chosen as the head of Harkat's department of motivation and became an editor for the Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

-language Sad’e Mujahidin and the Arabic-language Sawte Kashmir.

Azhar later became the general secretary of Harkat-ul-Ansar and visited many international locations to recruit, to raise funds and to spread the message of Pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism is a political movement advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic state — often a Caliphate. As a form of religious nationalism, Pan-Islamism differentiates itself from other pan-nationalistic ideologies, for example Pan-Arabism, by excluding culture and ethnicity as primary...

. Among his destinations were Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

.

Activities in Somalia


Azhar confessed that in 1993 he traveled to Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 to meet with leaders of al-Itihaad al-Islamiya
Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya
Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya or AIAI is a defunct Islamist militant group in Somalia that was added to the U.S. list of terrorist organizations on September 24, 2001...

, an al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

-aligned Somali group, who had requested money and recruits from Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

 (HuM). Indian intelligence officials believe that he made at least three trips to Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 and that he also helped bring Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

i mercenaries to Somalia.

1994 Arrest - 1999 Release


In early 1994, Azhar traveled to Srinagar
Srinagar
Srinagar is the summer seasonal capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. It is one of the largest cities in India not to have a Hindu majority. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats...

 to ease tensions between Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat ul-Ansar was an Islamic militant organization founded by Abdelkader Mokhtari in 1993. It was the result of a merger between the groups Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami . Many of its operations were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir.Soon after its founding, several members of...

's feuding factions of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami
Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami
Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami is an Islamic fundamentalist organization most active in South Asian countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since the early 1990s. It was banned in Bangladesh in 2005. The operational commander of HuJI, Ilyas Kashmiri, was reportedly killed in a U.S. Predator drone...

 and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

. India arrested him in February and imprisoned him for his terrorist activities with the groups.

In 1995, foreign tourists were kidnapped
1995 kidnapping of western tourists in Jammu and Kashmir
The 1995 Kidnapping of western tourists in Kashmir was an act of kidnapping of six foreign tourists by Al-Faran, a terrorist organisation, now known as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen from the Liddarwat area of Pahalgam in Anantnag district in south Jammu and Kashmir on 4 July 1995.-Background:Kashmir which...

 in Jammu and Kashmir. The kidnappers, referring to themselves as Al-Faran, included the release of Masood Azhar among their demands. One of the hostages managed to escape but the rest were eventually killed.

In December 1999, he was freed by the Indian government in exchange for passengers on the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814 commonly known as IC 814 was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, December 24, 1999, when it was hijacked...

 (IC814) that had eventually landed in Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, which at the time the Taliban controlled. The hijackers of IC814 were led by Masood Azhar's brother, Ibrahim Athar. His release from Kot Bhalwal jail by supervised by an IPS officer, S P Vaid; once Masood Azhar was handed over to the hijackers, they fled to Pakistani territory despite the fact that Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

 had earlier stated that any of the hijackers would be arrested at the border. The Pakistani government also previously indicated that Azhar would be allowed to return home since he did not face any charges there.

Shortly after his release, Azhar made a public address to an estimated 10,000 people in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

. He proclaimed, "I have come here because this is my duty to tell you that Muslims should not rest in peace until we have destroyed America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

."

2001 Arrest - 2002 Release


Masood Azhar's outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed allegedly carried out a string of deadly attacks against Indian targets, including the attack on the Indian parliament
2001 Indian Parliament attack
The 2001 Indian Parliament attack was a high-profile attack by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists against the building housing the Parliament of India in New Delhi...

 in December 2001 that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of a full-scale war.

Soon after the Indian parliament attack, Masood Azhar was detained for a year by Pakistani authorities in connection but was never formally charged. The Lahore High Court ordered an end to the house arrest on 14 December 2002, much to the fury of India.

Works



He wrote many books on Jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 in Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

. Some of them are as follows:

• Fazail e Jihad

• Khutbaat e Jihad

• Muskurate Zakhm

• Darus e Jihad

• Zaad e Mujahid

• Azadi Mukammal Ya Adhori

• Fath ul Jawwad

November 2008 Mumbai Attacks


On December 7, 2008, it was claimed that he was among several arrested by the Pakistani government after a military raid on a camp located on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad
Muzaffarabad
Muzaffarabad is the capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Pakistan. It is located in Muzaffarabad District on the banks of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers...

 in connection with the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. Still he is living in Bhawalpur. Pakistan's government denied it had arrested Masood Azhar and said it was unaware of his whereabouts

Sanctioned by US Treasury


The U.S. Treasury is prohibiting Americans from "engaging in any transactions" with three Pakistan-based militants and a front group. Al Rehmat Trust, called an "an operational front" for Jaish-e Mohammed, was designated for providing support to and for acting for or on behalf of that group, and Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi, Jaish-e Mohammed's founder and leader, was designated for acting for on behalf of the group.

External links