Get ready, we need the heat on JeM to settle, ISI tells Lashkar

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, May 15: Pakistan says that it has been acting against the Jaish-e-Mohammad in the aftermath of the listing of its chief, Maulana Masood Azhar by the United Nations.

With these developments the activities of the Jaish-e-Mohammad are likely to come down in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. However Pakistan has plan B and that would be to prop up the Lashkar-e-Tayiba to fill in the vacuum.

The Lashkar leadership has been asked to be prepared for a long and bloody haul in Kashmir. The intent of the ISI would be to keep the JeM off the radar until and the heat and dust on it settles.

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One had witnessed a similar strategy in the wake of the international heat on the Lashkar-e-Tayiba being upped a few years back. We had witnessed the JeM going from dormant to lethal during that period.

In the aftermath of the ban, the JeM has been operating under a new name. It was expected that Pakistan would change the name of the outfit to overcome the ban and we witnessed this in the case of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba as well.

Following the ban on the Lashkar-e-Tayiba's financial outfit, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, it was re-christened as Falah-e-Insaniyat to overcome the ban.

The JeM would now be called as the Jaish-e-Mutqi, officials tracking the outfit have learnt. While Azhar would continue to be at the helm of affairs, the ISI has advised him to restrict his public appearances.

Prior to the ban, the ISI had shifted Azhar's base over four times, Indian intelligence agencies tell OneIndia. We do not expect any major action against Azhar, who will continue to remain a strategic asset for Pakistan, an officer says. However his activities would not remain in the open like it was in the past and Pakistan would be under some kind of pressure to keep him under check.

Pakistan has over the years tackled such issues by propping up newer outfits. For instance, when the Jamaat-ud-Dawa came under international pressure, Pakistan closed its offices. However a few months later the JuD emerged with a new name called the Falah-e-Insaniyat.

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The heat on the JeM has been high for sometime. This means Pakistan would now prop up the Lashkar-e-Tayiba for sometime now. The same thing had happened in case of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba a few years back. The heat on the outfit was high following attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, following which the JeM was propped up.

Officials say that like Hafiz Saeed, Azhar too remains a major asset for Pakistan's ISI.

With the ban, the ISI would keep him safe from public glare and instead prop up his brother Mohammad Rauf. In fact for sometime now, the ISI has tried to lower the heat on Azhar and let Rauf call the shots. Rauf is assisted by his brother Athar Ibrahim.

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