The attack on the Pathankot airbase in January was planned in April 2014 at a meeting in Sialkot in Pakistan by Jaish-e-Mohammed operative Shahid Latif who believed it was “easy” to launch an attack since the airbase was surrounded by forests, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in its chargesheet filed Monday.
Eight persons, including seven security personnel, were killed and 38 others were injured in the attack.
The chargesheet, which named Latif along with Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar and another handler called Kashif Jan, said Latif showed the potential attackers a Google map of the airbase. This information was gathered from a witness who was present at the meeting and later identified the photograph of Latif.
According to the chargesheet, one of the witnesses said the terrorists who attacked the airbase were “very talkative” and spoke of their association with the Jaish and the motivation provided by Masood Azhar for the attack.
According to the chargesheet, the witness said that one of the terrorists was referred to as “Major” and was in touch with an “Ustadji” from Pakistan over the phone.
“The Major… said that he and his companions were members of a great organisation, Jaish-e Mohammed, and that they had been imparted true knowledge of Islam by Maulana Masood Azhar. They were also repeatedly taking the name of Azhar and Abdul Rauf, who directly meet, motivate, encourage and send people for waging jihad in India,” the chargesheet stated.
The terrorists, while moving towards the airbase on January 1, also received a call from a Pakistan number (923453030479) and discussed the route and plan of the attack with “Ustadji”. This number, the chargesheet said, was found to be “associated with the Facebook profile of Kashif Jan with profile ID 100004609026581”.
The contents of the Facebook account revealed Jan’s close connections with other Jaish members. The chargesheet attached details of conversations between Jaish members about the Pathankot attack as extracted from Jan’s Facebook data.
“All the registration and login IP address used for this account belong to Pakistan,” the chargesheet stated. It also mentioned chat messages of March 20-21, 2015 where Jan owned up the attacks in Kathua and Samba in Jammu on the same dates.
The number was also associated with video messenger IMO where the account holder was Kashif Jan, the chargesheet stated. “The phone set used by Kashif Jan is an Android phone Qmobile X600 manufactured by QMobile which is a Pakistan-based smartphone company,” it said.
Another number (923213132786) on which the terrorists had called was found to be associated with Al Rehmat Trust, a Jaish front that collects finances for its terror activities. “This number is present on the information banner of the Al Rehmat Trust on the website, http://www.rangonoor.com” — a JeM mouthpiece.
Watch what else is making news:
It was on this website, the chargesheet noted, that an audio clip by Abdul Rauf Asghar taking responsibility of the attack was uploaded. A witness identified the voice in the clip as that of Asghar.
The transcript of this audio clip was also uploaded on alqalamonline.com which along with rangonoor.com was found connected to a Pakistan landline number and whose hosting had been paid by a Pakistan credit card, the chargesheet stated.
The NIA attached evidence of various medicines, food packets and shoes of the terrorists to establish the Pakistan link. It listed four pain killer injections manufactured by Sami Pharmacy, Karachi, Schazoo Pharmaceuticals Industries, Sheikhpura and E-Pharma, Karachi in Pakistan. A disposable syringe manufactured by Medi Care Disposable Industries in Lahore, painkillers by Pfizer Pakistan and Chinese lighters also figured in the list.
The chargesheet remained “inconclusive” about the presence of more than four terrorists at the Pathankot airbase. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier told Parliament that there were six terrorists — it was based on a forensic report that said burnt remains found from an airmen’s billet were that of human male.
“Due to the absence of any recovered arms from the aforementioned billet, its residential nature and the inconclusive DNA analysis report of the charred mass, the presence of any other terrorist could not be established till date,” the chargesheet said, adding that investigations in this aspect would continue.
It said it had written to AOC Air Force Station, Pathankot to provide UAV footage carried out during the terror attack.
Contrary to BSF’s claims of no evidence of terrorists infiltrating through Punjab border, the chargesheet said the terrorists crossed over from near the Simbal border outpost.
“In the instant case, it was revealed that the leaders/handlers and co-conspirators of the JeM… sent four terrorists, namely Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq, and Abdul Qayum, all residents of Pakistan, trained in terrorist tradecraft and belonging to JeM, with sophisticated arms, ammunition and other logistical items from across Pakistan on 30.12.2015. They illegally crossed the Indo-Pak international border through the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost (manned by BSF). Empty food packets manufactured in Pakistan and other food articles from Pakistan were recovered from the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost,” the chargesheet said.