Pathankot attack mastermind Rashid Latif was shot dead inside a mosque in Pakistan’s Sialkot on Wednesday, latest media reports said.
The 41-year-old, who was a member of dreaded terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, was said to be the brain behind the 2016 attack on the Indian Air Force’s airbase in Pathankot.
Investigative agencies report he was also the key handler about all the strategy of the attack and infiltrated across the border to Pathankot to carry out the attack.
In November 1994, Latif was arrested in India based on terror charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He was then put to trial and eventually jailed. He was deported back to Pakistan after serving his sentence in India via Wagah in 2010.
According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigation, Latif returned to the extremist network in Pakistan following his release in 2010.
The Indian government had then designated him as a wanted terrorist.
The JeM had taken responsibility for the 2016 attack on the air force base in Pathankot, when a heavily armed group from the outfit attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station.
The gun battle between the security forces and attackers ensued for around 17 hours on January 2, 2016, killing five attackers and six security personnel. Three more soldiers died after they were hospitalized due to their injuries, raising the death toll to 9 security forces personnel.
A day later, another security forces officer was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion. The operation in Pathankot continued on January 4, killing a fifth attacker. The Pathankot attack perpetrated by JeM led to a breakdown of India-Pakistan relations, which is largely unresolved till this date.
When Indian Airlines plane IC814 was hijacked by five armed men to Kandahar in Afghanistan in 1999, Shahid Latif was one of those whose release was demanded by the terrorists.
Masood Azhar, chief of JeM was also one of the prisoners freed along with two others in lieu of 189 passengers and crew members caught in a hostage situation on the plane.
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