Shahid Latif had been operating in Jammu and Kashmir until he was arrested and subsequently deported in 2010 after spending 16 years in Indian jails.
Shahid Latif, India’s most-wanted terrorist and mastermind of 2016 Pathankot attack, shot dead by unknown assailants in Pakistan’s Sialkot on Wednesday.
According to sources, Latif (41) had connections with several terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. They had carried out many attacks with terrorist organisations in the Union territory.
Latif was an alleged commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, and was termed as “one of the main handlers” of the Pathankot attackers by National Investigation Agency. He been operating in Jammu and Kashmir until he was arrested and subsequently deported in 2010 after spending 16 years in Indian jails.
A report in Indian Express had in 2016 had traced Latif’s history of terror. The report stated that the story of Latif, a resident of Gujranwala (Pakistan), begins in the early 1990s when Jaish-e-Mohammad’s parent group, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, entered the Kashmir theatre.
Harkat was a splinter group of the Harkat-e-Jihadi Islami, which was engaged in the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union but once it entered Kashmir, the two factions joined together to form the Harkat-ul-Ansar in 1994, the report had mentioned.
IE further quoted NIA sources as saying that Latif was one of the militants holed up in the Hazratbal shrine during its siege in 1993.
Around 40 militants, mostly locals, were holed up for a month while the Army, paramilitary and police laid a siege around it. The standoff was over only after the militants were given a free passage after negotiations, the report stated.
The report quoted police sources in Jammu and Kashmir as saying that soon after the siege was lifted at Hazratbal, Latif was pushed back into Pakistan through the RS Pora border in Jammu which was part of the deal.
While NIA claims that Latif was a member of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, J&K police sources say that their records show he was with Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen,
But nobody paid heed to the list once the deal was struck to release Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Kashmir militant commander Mushtaq Zargar, IE mentioned, adding that J&K police sources however said that there is “no official record of his name being on any list.”
The report had in 2016 quoted NIA sources as saying that their investigation into the Pathankot attack revealed that Shahid Latif joined Jaish after he was deported and became an important member of the outfit.
NIA sources had claimed they have enough evidence against Latif that they have put his name in the Letters Rogatory sent to Islamabad. “He was on our radar also because his name had come up during Kathua (attack) too. We think he is one of the main planners of Pathankot attack like (Masood Azhar’s brother) Rouf,” an NIA official