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‘India offered money to Taliban to re-arrest me’ JeM chief Masood Azhar claims

Pakistan based terror leader claims that foreign minister Jaswant Singh offered money to Taliban Government to re-arrest him
Pakistani cleric Maulana Masood Azhar (C) enters a mosque in Islamabad along with his guards 27 January 2000. Azhar, who is regarded as a key figurehead for Kashmiri Muslim militant groups, was freed from an Indian jail to end an hijacking in Afghanistan last month. He has called for a holy war against India to fight for the Kashmiri separatist cause in which more than 25,000 people have died since 1989. AFP PHOTO/Tanveer MUGHAL

Jaish-e -Muhammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azar claims that the NDA government led by A B Vajpayee offered money to Taliban government  to re-arrest him. Indian Express on Monday, cited  a post from  Al-Qualam weekly saying that the offer was made by the then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh. Al-Qualm is considered to be the online mouth piece of JeM.

The offer was made to Mullah Akthar Mohammad Mansur, the civil aviation minister of Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, after the Kandahar swap in 1999.

Azhar’s claims were made in the obituary of Mansur, the Taliban chief who was killed in a drone strike last month.

Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 was hijacked by terrorists and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan on 24 December 1999. Indian government were forced to release Mazood Azar and two others for the safe release of passengers. It was Mansur who had received Azar and driven him out of the airport in his vehicle on 31 December 1999.

” Mansur started repeating the story of that day with a lot of pleasure. He said that Jaswant Singh had told him that our prisoners would still be in Afghanistan and you arrest them and hand them over to India. We will make your government rich” Indian Express quoted from the article written by Azhar.

But intelligence officers who were present at the Kandahar airport has denied this, says the Indian Express report. A S Dulat, who was then chief of India’s external spy agency, the RA&W denied that money never came up at all during that episode. ” It is a bunkum. Unfortunately the claim is regarding a conversation between  two men that nobody can verify, because one is dead and another is in coma” Dulat said.

Azhar attacked Pakistan government also in the post. “The current Nawaz Sharif government have moved several steps ahead of Musharraf and Zardari regimes in its animosity towards jihad and religion.”

Azhar wrote that with the killing of Mansur ” all the enemies have struck and it is the turn of the Muslims ” and “hopefully the world would witness strange scenes soon. ”

Pakistan based JeM has been designated as a terror group by the UN, but not its chief Azhar. New Delhi had unsuccessfully tried to include Azhar in the UN terror list, but was blocked by Beijing in April.

India accused the JeM for carrying out the terror attack in Pathankot airbase on 2 January. An attack on the Indian mission in Afghanistan was also blamed on the terror group.

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