New Delhi: Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has been secretly renamed as 'Al Murabitoon', reports said on Thursday.
The rechristening of JeM founded by Masood Azhar, who is wanted in India in connection with several terror attack cases, has come at a time when India has been lobbying hard at the UN for more sanctions against the outfit.
According to inputs received from the intelligence agencies, the JeM is now using its new identity to secure entry into the universities and colleges across Pakistan.
Besides, the changed identity of the outfit is also being used to secure more funds for the organisation.
The reports, claiming to have accessed documentary evidence, said that Masood Azhar is using this new identity for organising speech and debate competitions in schools and colleges in Pakistani cities of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Rawalakot.
If the intelligence agencies are to be believed, the renaming of JeM is a well-calculated move aimed at shielding the outfit from international scrutiny.
However, this is not the sole reason behind JeM's renaming. JeM's new identity is also likely to help it in expanding its anti-India operations.
In view of a tough competition from as Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Taliban, the JeM has been under tremendous pressure to increase its influence in PoK and the Kashmir Valley.
While the Shariyat-seeking hardcore recruits prefer the Taliban and its affiliates, the LeT has managed to establish itself mainly due to abundant resources and the extensive use of social media.
Several pamphlets inviting entries for debate competitions have been distributed in various schools and colleges in Pakistan in the name of "Al Murabitoon." Interestingly, top leaders of JeM have been invited to the events as guests.
Another thing which draws immediate attention is the prize – special swords bearing the name of Masood Azhar as the 'Ameer of Mujahedeens' – being given to the winners and the runner-ups.
All this comes to light at a time when the US Administration of President Donald Trump has threatened to cut USD 255 million in aid to Pakistan over its alleged terror activities.
JeM chief's nephew Talha Rasheed was among the three militants who were killed in an encounter at Aglar in Pulwama by the security forces in November last year.