National Investigative agency on Monday filed a charge sheet in the Pathankot airbase terror attack, naming Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and three others of his organisation as accused.
In a comprehensive charge sheet filed at Panchkula Special Court about a year after attack, NIA has highlighted the role of terror group Jaish in spreading mayhem in India and referred to the nefarious plans of the outfit, sources said.
Here are more insights into who is Maulana Masood Azhar and his alleged involvement with terrorist activities
Maulana Masood Azhar
Maulana Masood Azhar is a religious leader who supports Muslim separatists fighting in Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir (India).
Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of the UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, active mainly in the Pakistani administered Azad Kashmir. He features on India's most wanted list of 20 people it accuses of terrorism.
Early Life and Education
Maulana Masood Azhar was born in 1968 in Bahawalpur, in the central Pakistani province of Punjab. He got his early education from Jamia Uloom-i-Islami, near Karachi, which is considered as one of the leading religious universities of Pakistan.
Maulana Azhar heads Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is allegedly involved in numerous attacks in India that even include the attack on the parliament in December 2001.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad founder, after finishing his education joined the institute as a teacher and is believed to have written several books and even headed a editorial team of a magazine.
Involvement in Terrorist Activities
India arrested him in 1994, and accused him of being a member of the Harkat-ul Mujahideen, one of the leading militant groups in Kashmir.
In 1995 a group, which kidnapped six Western tourists, also called for his release. One of the hostages, a Norwegian was killed, one escaped and the remainder are missing but feared dead. The tourists were trekking in Kashmir's Pahalgam district when they were captured.
In 1999 he was freed from an Indian prison in exchange for passengers on a hijacked Indian Airlines jet. His brother, Ibrahim, is thought to have been one of the hijackers.
Maulana Azhar was detained for a year by authorities in Pakistan in connection with that attack, but never formally charged. Maulana Azhar was detained for a year by authorities in Pakistan in connection with that attack, but never formally charged.
The Lahore High Court ordered an end to his house arrest on 14 December 2002.
Following the January 2002 kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl by Sheikh Ahmed Saeed Omar, a close aide of Azhar, the US had sought the custody of the Jaish chief, saying authorities wanted to file charges against him for his involvement in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight, which had an American citizen on board.