Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) is a Jihadi organisation of Pakistan whose purpose is to separate Kashmir from India. JeM adheres to a radical interpretation of Sunni Islam and supports the establishment of Islamic rule not only in Jammu & Kashmir, but beyond. Jaish-e-Mohammad has been included in the lists of terrorist organizations released by India, USA and UK.
JeM has called for attacks against all nations identified to have violated the rights of Muslims. It has been the perpetrator of several terrorist attacks in India.
JeM was founded in 2000 by Maulana Masood Azhar, a radical Islamist scholar and jihadist leader, following his release from an Indian jail in exchange for 155 hostages hijacked aboard an Indian Airlines aircraft on 31 December 1999. Azhar formed JeM with the support of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the Afghan Taliban, Osama bin Laden and several Sunni extremist organisations in Pakistan. Azhar remains the leader of JeM. Masood Azhar’s brother, Abdul Rauf Asghar, is a senior leader of JeM and its intelligence coordinator.
The outfit, like other terrorist outfits in J&K, carries out terrorist and separatist activities in the state with a view of Islamising the region. The outfit claims that each of its offices in Pakistan would serve as schools of jihad. Delivering speeches at various cities and towns in Pakistan after his release, Masood Azhar had threatened that the outfit would eliminate Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who he termed as ‘Abu Jahl’ (Father of Ignorance). In its fight against India, he added that the outfit would not only “liberate” Kashmir, but also would take control of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Amritsar and Delhi.
Area of Operation
The Jaish-e-Mohammed has largely confined its operations within J&K. However, several of its cadres have, on occasions been arrested or killed by security forces in states other than J&K.
There is no reporting on current membership numbers for JeM; however, reporting from 2014 estimated its numbers at several thousand supporters, 300–400 of which are active fighters. Media reporting from August 2017 states nearly two dozen cadres of JeM fighters were present in Jammu Kashmir—no further details of the size of a cadre was given.
Recruitment and funding
JeM has a good financial base with income derived from both legitimate business interests and Islamic charitable foundations. The Al-Rehmat Trust is the principal source of income for JeM and continues to operate despite being sanctioned by several countries.
JeM supports over 300 Islamic institutions in Pakistan and gathers donations from attendees at these institutions. Publically, the donations are stated to provide “cash and medicine to students of servants of religious schools and centres; orphans, widows and those afflicted with disaster; and migrants on the path to God.”
Operational Strategies: Fidayeen Attacks
Most Jaish-e-Mohammed attacks have been described as fidayeen (suicide terrorist) attacks. In this mode, terrorists of the outfit storm a high-security target, including security forces’ bases, camps and convoys. After storming, they either fortify themselves within the target, killing as many security force personnel and civilians as possible before they are killed by retaliatory action. In other cases, they kill and injure as many as possible before attempting to escape.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) was responsible for the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. The outfit has been banned by the Indian government under provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) on October 25, 2001. The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in a notification on December 26, 2001, designated the outfit as a foreign terrorist organisation.
The outfit is closely linked, through the Binoria Madrassah in Karachi, with the former Taliban regime of Afghanistan and its Portege, Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda.
The JeM is also reported to have links with Sunni terrorist outfits operating in Pakistan such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP)and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).
The group, in coordination with Lashkar-e-Taiba, has been implicated in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack in New Delhi.
It has been held responsible for the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi
An informant, posing as a member of Jaish-e-Mohammed, helped police to arrest four people allegedly plotting to bomb a New York City synagogue as well as to shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft in the United States. The arrest of the four took place in May 2009.
In January 2016, members of the JeM carried out the Pathankot attack.
In September 2016, the group carried out the Uri attack.
On February 14 2019, a group of terrorists led by Adil Ahmad Dar of this outfit killed at least 44 security personnel in a suicide bombing using a car in South Kashmir’s Pulwama.