Rauf Azhar's footprints present in Kandahar hijacking to Pulwama attack

Army personnel near the site of Pulwama attack in Feb 2019. [Representational Image]
Army personnel near the site of Pulwama attack in Feb 2019. [Representational Image] File

New Delhi: Jaish-e-Mohammed's Abdul Rauf Azhar, in the news after China blocked a proposal at the UN to blacklist him, is believed to be one of the main conspirators of the IC-814 Kandahar hijacking of 1999 and also the Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in 2019.

Since 1999, Rauf Azhar, brother of Jaish chief Masood Azhar, has emerged as the master of optics in terms of orchestrating most audacious attacks on Indian establishments that grabbed eyeballs across the globe including the 2001 attack on Parliament when a session was on, the 2005 attack on makeshift Ayodhya Ram temple, and the 2016 attack on forward base of IAF in Pathankot among others.

Designated as a 'global terrorist' by the US in 2010, Rauf Azhar sprung on the terror map in 1999 when the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 from Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked and taken to Taliban-controlled Kandhar on December 24.

As the hijacking saga came to an end on December 31, 1999, security agencies identified Rauf Azhar as one of the main conspirators who had hatched the plot to secure the release of his brother Masood Azhar from Kot Balwal jail of Jammu, causing embarrassment to Indian government.

The attacks planned by Rauf Azhar almost brought India and Pakistan on the brink of a war on at least on two occasions -- the Parliament attack and thesuicide attack on the CRPF convoy.

India had responded with biggest military mobilisation after 1971 called Operation Parakram after the Parliament misadventure while after the CRPF convoy attack, Induia carried out a target air strike on terrorist camps in Pakistan's Balakot crippling the spine of JeM.

A number of Red Corner Notices from Interpol in connection with these attacks are pending against 48-year-old Rauf Azhar who is ensconced in the safety of Pakistan's establishment.

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