Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a letter to the Afghan authorities, has formally asked about the presence of terrorist outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar. Islamabad has asked the neighbouring country to locate and arrest the terrorist, who may be hiding in either Nangarhar or Kunar.
Even though, there are no official details about Masood’s whereabouts, it is still unclear when exactly Azhar did move to Afghanistan, after the Taliban took charge of Kabul in August 2021, or before that.
According to Pakistan-based Geo News, a top official, on the basis of anonymity, said, “We have written a one-page letter to the Afghan Foreign Ministry asking them to locate, report and arrest Masood Azhar, as we believe that he is hiding somewhere in Afghanistan.”
Azhar formed the terrorist outfit after being released by India in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane that was diverted to Afghanistan’s Kandahar in the year 1999. The Taliban regime had allowed the hijackers and freed terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar, to cross over into Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that the terrorist group, JeM, has carried out multiple deadly attacks in India, including the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. The attack brought the two neighbouring countries—India and Pakistan—to the brink of a full-fledged war.
In 2019, the United Nations declared Azhar a ‘global terrorist’ by the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, despite China’s several attempts to block India’s proposal to blacklist the Pakistan-based terrorist for several years. The UNSC has approved the blacklisting and he is now subject to an assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.