Maulana Masood Azhar

Maulana Masood Azhar
Masood Azhar
Born July 10, 1968 (1968-07-10) (age 43)
Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Allegiance Harkat-ul-Ansar, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad

Maulana Masood Azhar is a Pakistani mujaheddin leader and the founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, based mainly in the Pakistan-administered portion of the state of Kashmir.[citation needed]

India lists Masood Azhar as one of its most wanted terrorists due to a history of militant activities.[1][2]


Early life

Azhar was born in Bahawalpur on July 10, 1968 as one of ten siblings[3] although some sources list his birth date as August 7, 1968 as the third of 11 children.[2] His father, Allah Bakhsh Shabir, was the headmaster at a government-run school, and his family operated a dairy and poultry farm. Azhar studied at the Jamia Uloom ul Islamia Banuri Town in Karachi, where he became involved with Harkat-ul-Ansar. After he suffered injuries in the Soviet-Afghan War, Azhar was chosen as the head of Harkat's department of motivation and became an editor for the Urdu-language Sad’e Mujahidin and the Arabic-language Sawte Kashmir.[2][3]

Azhar later became the general secretary of Harkat-ul-Ansar and visited many international locations to recruit, to raise funds and to spread the message of Pan-Islamism. Among his destinations were Zambia, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, the United Kingdom and Albania.[3]

Activities in Somalia

Azhar confessed that in 1993 he traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to meet with leaders of al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, an al-Qaeda-aligned Somali group, who had requested money and recruits from Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). Indian intelligence officials believe that he made at least three trips to Somalia and that he also helped bring Yemeni mercenaries to Somalia.[4]

1994 Arrest - 1999 Release

In early 1994, Azhar traveled to Srinagar to ease tensions between Harkat-ul-Ansar's feuding factions of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.[3] India arrested him in February and imprisoned him for his terrorist activities with the groups.[4]

In 1995, foreign tourists were kidnapped in Jammu and Kashmir. The kidnappers, referring to themselves as Al-Faran, included the release of Masood Azhar among their demands.[3] One of the hostages managed to escape but the rest were eventually killed.

In December 1999, he was freed by the Indian government in exchange for passengers on the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814 (IC814) that had eventually landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, which at the time the Taliban controlled.[5] The hijackers of IC814 were led by Masood Azhar's brother[citation needed], Ibrahim Athar. Once Masood Azhar was handed over to the hijackers, they fled to Pakistani territory despite the fact that Islamabad had earlier stated that any of the hijackers would be arrested at the border. The Pakistani government also previously indicated that Azhar would be allowed to return home since he did not face any charges there.[6]

Shortly after his release, Azhar made a public address to an estimated 10,000 people in Karachi. He proclaimed, "I have come here because this is my duty to tell you that Muslims should not rest in peace until we have destroyed America and India."[6]

2001 Arrest - 2002 Release

Masood Azhar's outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed allegedly carried out a string of deadly attacks against Indian targets, including the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001 that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of a full-scale war.[7]

Soon after the Indian parliament attack, Masood Azhar was detained for a year by Pakistani authorities in connection but was never formally charged. The Lahore High Court ordered an end to the house arrest on 14 December 2002, much to the fury of India.[1]


He wrote many books on Jihad in Urdu. Some of them are as follows:
• Fazail e Jihad
• Khutbaat e Jihad
• Muskurate Zakhm
• Darus e Jihad
• Zaad e Mujahid
• Azadi Mukammal Ya Adhori
• Fath ul Jawwad[8][9]

November 2008 Mumbai Attacks

On December 7, 2008, it was claimed that he was among several arrested by the Pakistani government after a military raid on a camp located on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad in connection with the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. Still he is living in Bhawalpur.[10][11] Pakistan's government denied it had arrested Masood Azhar and said it was unaware of his whereabouts [12]

Sanctioned by US Treasury

The U.S. Treasury is prohibiting Americans from "engaging in any transactions" with three Pakistan-based militants and a front group. Al Rehmat Trust, called an "an operational front" for Jaish-e Mohammed, was designated for providing support to and for acting for or on behalf of that group, and Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi, Jaish-e Mohammed's founder and leader, was designated for acting for on behalf of the group.[13][14]

See also

  • Abdul Rauf Azhor


  1. ^ a b "Indian fury over freed militant". BBC News. 2002-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  2. ^ a b c India's most wanted. 19. Frontline. 2002. ISBN 0066210631. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Maulana Masood Azhar". Kashmir Herald ( 1 (8). January 2002. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  4. ^ a b Watson, Paul; Sidhartha Barua (2002-02-25). "Somalian Link Seen to Al Qaeda". LA Times. Archived from the original on 2002-02-25. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  5. ^ Gannon, Kathy (1999-12-31). "Hopes for end to jet hijack". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  6. ^ a b Hussain, Zahid (2000-01-05). "Freed Militant Surfaces". AP. Archived from the original on 2000-09-01. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  7. ^ The Independent: Pakistan blamed by India for raid on parliament
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Subramanian, Nirupama (2008-12-18). "Restrictions put on Masood Azhar". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  11. ^ "JeM chief Masood Azhar under house arrest". Times of India. 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  12. ^ "Pakistan denies militant arrested". BBC News. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Treasury targets Pakistani militants". CNN. 2010-11-04. 
  14. ^

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