The Jaish-e-Muhammad is soliciting funds from congregated Karachi mosques to send jihadists to fight in India and Afghanistan, footage obtained by The Indian Express reveals.
The footage, shot on Friday night and Saturday — counted by believers as the most sacred of the holy month of Ramzan — shows the Jaish’s fund collectors operating with impunity, even though the organisation is officially proscribed in Pakistan.
“Help the mujahideen of the Jaish-e-Muhammad, the mujahideen of Islam, fight jihad in Kashmir against India, and in Afghanistan against the Americans,” one man can be heard saying in footage shot Friday night, outside a mosque in Karachi’s Jacob Lines area.
“Generously donate to the brave young men of the Jaish-e-Muhammad who are fighting for the victory of the name of God and Islam,” another man says outside the Jamia Uloom-e-Islam seminary.
The footage shows police offers standing by, watching as the banned organisation collects funds outside the Jamia Uloom-e-Islam.
Described as the “fountainhead of jihad”, the seminary is famous for having produced several top jihadist leaders, including Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, who headed the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, and Fazl-ur-Rehman Khalil, the leader of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.
The Jamia Uloom-e-Islam seminary was also alma mater to Sami-ul-Haq, the Uttar Pradesh-born head of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, or AQIS, who Indian intelligence believes to be operating out of Karachi. Sami-ul-Haq, who uses the pseudonym Asim Umar, was designated a terrorist by the United States last week.
In an Eid message posted online on Friday, the AQIS chief called on Indian Muslims to “pick up their daggers, and start attacking the Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service officers who protect Hindus during communal riots”.
“When your daggers reach the necks of the Hindus who now call for your blood, you see how their words change,” he said.
Even though Jaish-e-Muhammad was banned by Pakistan in 2002, following its attack on Parliament House in New Delhi, it continues to operate military facilities in several parts of Pakistan. Earlier this year, this newspaper had obtained satellite images showing that the terrorist group had set up new military facilities in the shadows of the historic Maujgarh fort, in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert.
Following January’s attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser Sartaj Aziz had said that calls made by one of the attackers had been traced to the Jaish’s headquarters in Bahawalpur.
However, the findings of a team of Pakistani investigators who visited Pathankot are yet to be shared with New Delhi, and Islamabad has yet to accept that terrorists killed during the attack were its citizens.
Masood Azhar, who Aziz had said was being held in “protective custody”, has continued to write in Jaish’s in-house magazine, Rang-o-Noor.
In recent months, Indian security sources say, the Jaish-e-Muhammad’s operations have seen a significant uptick in Kashmir, with the group seeking to expand the strength of its cadre in the hills around Srinagar, as well as in northern Kashmir.