Militant leaders sending relatives to fight in Kashmir

With militant leadership in Pakistan facing questions by their own people in their own homeland, they are sending close relatives to fight in Kashmir and motivate local youths to join militancy. PTI file photo

With militant leadership in Pakistan facing questions by their own people in their own homeland, they are sending close relatives to fight in Kashmir and motivate local youths to join militancy.

 In the last one-year, nephews of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Jaish chief Moulana Masood Azhar, have been killed by security forces in three separate encounters in Kashmir.
 
Usman Haidar, a nephew of Azhar, was killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir's Tral on October 31. An American M-4 Carbine, used for carrying out sniper attacks on security forces, was also recovered from his possession. The M4 carbine rifle, according to police sources, is used by NATO forces in Afghanistan and by the Special Forces of Pakistan. M4 is fitted with a night vision device can be used by militants to target forces from a distance.
 
Last November, Talha Rashid, another nephew of Azhar was killed in an encounter with security forces in southern Pulwama district. Rashid, according to police sources, was Azhar’s sister’s son and the Police had also recovered an M4 carbine rifle from Rashid’s possession.
 
Owaid alias Osama, a nephew of Lakhvi was killed along with five top militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit in a gunfight in Hajin area of northern Bandipora district in November 2017. Lakhvi, a close relative of LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, is accused of planning and executing strikes on India’s financial capital Mumbai on November 26, 2008 that killed 166 people and wounded hundreds.
 
“Top militant leadership in Pakistan is facing questions by their own people in their own homeland. So they are under pressure to send their close relations to Kashmir. Plus, the blood relations of top militant leaders are being sent here as a motivational force to woo as many local youths as possible,” a senior police officer told DH.
 
Another reason for militant leadership to sending close relatives to fight in Kashmir, he said, is the dwindling number of active ultras in Kashmir. “Due to the relentless anti-insurgency operations by the army and police, the militants are feeling the heat and falling short of men. Now they rely on second-rung family relations to keep the outfit alive in Kashmir,” the officer added.
 
Nearly 190 militants have been killed in Kashmir this year while 217 ultras were killed in 2017 which was highest in the last nine years. The security forces are going after militants as part of "operation all out" and on the basis of a “hit list” of ultras.

 

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