New Delhi: Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, who is widely believed to be behind the deadly attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, has used the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru to motivate his fighters to carry out more attacks against India.
A report in Mail Today, quoting intelligence sources, said on Friday that the JeM chief, who is a good orator, has apparently using Afzal Guru's case as a potent tool to motivate acts of terror against India.
Azhar is known for making highly provocative and fiery speeches seeking revenge for Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru's hanging.
The intelligence agencies believe that Afzal Guru's hanging had breathed a fresh lease of life into Pakistan terror outfit JeM after which it had expedited its anti-India operations.
After Afzal Guru's execution in Delhi's Tihar jail in February 2013, the JeM formed the Afzal Guru Squad - a crack fidayeen team with the sole objective of avenging his death, say intelligence sources.
Within a span of few months, a fresh breed of terrorists infiltrated into the Indian side and started attacking the security forces. JeM, which espoused the Kashmir separatist cause, has its roots in Bhawalpur in Pakistan's Punjab province. It was formed in 2000 after a split in Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. Majority of those who broke away joined Masood Azhar.
The terrorists who carried out the Pathankot attack are also suspected to be from the Afzal Guru Squad, as per intelligence sources.
Intelligence agencies believe that calls that were made to Pakistan by the Pathankot attackers were later traced to have been made to top JeM leaders.
These calls were made using a taxi driver, Ikagar Singh's phone. Singh was killed by the terrorists who later attacked the Air Force base.
Security agencies feel that not just Azhar, but his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar too was also involved in planning the Pathankot attack.
The two brothers were also the brain behind the IC-814 hijack. Azhar and two other terrorists, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, were released by India after Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu was hijacked and taken to Kandahar in 1999.
Intelligence reports say that not just the Pathankot attack, several other attacks on security forces over the last two years can be attributed to the Afzal Guru Squad. In all these attacks, the method was similar - terrorists in army fatigues crossed the border and targeted security forces.
Intelligence inputs indicate that JeM is planning more Pathnakot-like attacks in India.