NIA charge sheet establishes Pakistan’s hand in the Feb 2019 Pulwama terror attack

Srinagar/ August 25: The charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a Jammu court on Tuesday has exposed a clear link between Pakistan and the February 2019 Pulwama terror attack, in which 42 CRPF personnel were martyred. The NIA charge sheet has named
Maulana Masood Azhar the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), his brothers Abdul Rauf Asghar and Ammar Alvi, and his nephew Muhammad Umar Farooq.

The agency has recovered Pakistan’s National Identity Card from one of the 19 terrorists named in the charge sheet, Muhammad Umar Farooq, who has been killed by security forces. The Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) is an identity card issued by the Pakistan government and is issued to Pakistani citizens above 18 years. It is an equivalent to India’s Aadhar Card.

Car used by terrorists that was filled with explosives and rammed into the CRPF convoy at Pulwama on February 14, 2019. (Photo: News Intervention)
Car that was filled with explosives and rammed into the CRPF convoy by terrorists at Pulwama on February 14, 2019. (Photo: News Intervention)

As per the charge sheet, Muhammad Umar Farooq was trained in explosives in Afghanistan in 2016-17 after which he infiltrated into India through the international border at the Jammu-Samba sector in April 2018. He had taken over charge as a Jaish-e-Mohammad commander before the Pulwama terror attack. Another accused, Mohammad Iqbal Rather, 25, a resident of Budgam, facilitated Farooq’s movement in the region. Umar Farooq, along with others, had assembled the IED used in the terror attack.

From left: Muhammad Umar Farooq, Sameer Dar and Adil Dar with their faces smeared with Aluminium powder used in the assembly of IED. (Photo: News Intervention)

Out of the 19 names in the charge sheet, 7 are in NIA’s custody, another 7 are said to have been encountered by the security forces, and 5 are said to be in Pakistan. The 7 JeM operatives under NIA’s custody include Mohammad Abbas Rather, Tariq Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Iqbal Rather, Shakir Bashir Magrey, Waiz-ul-Islam, Insha Jan, and Bilal Ahmed Kuchey.

Tariq Ahmad Shah and his daughter Insha Jan at village Hakripora, Pulwama. Both have been arrested by the NIA. (Photo: News Intervention)

On July 5 last month, the NIA made the 7th arrest in the Pulwama terror attack case. The arrested individual Bilal Ahmed Kuchey who runs a sawmill has been accused of harbouring and extending support to the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists involved in the attack. Kuchey introduced the terrorists to other Over Ground Workers (OGWs) who provided them safe houses during the planning of the attack.

Pulwama terror attack

At around 3 PM on February 14, 2019, a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist drove an explosive-laden SUV into a convoy of vehicles carrying CRPF personnel on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. This resulted in the killing of 40 CRPF personnel. As per reports, around 80 kg of explosives were used for the attack.

According to NIA sources, Pakistan used Adil Ahmad Dar, a local resident who rammed an explosive-laden car into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, as a suicide bomber to project the attack as a result of a home-grown militancy against “India’s occupation of Kashmir”.

Around 12 days after the terror attack, in the wee hours of February 26, Indian Air Force (IAF) jets had bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a retaliation to the cowardly attack.

Sageer Ahmad
Sageer Ahmad
Sageer Ahmad is a research scholar based in Jammu & Kashmir.

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