Pulwama attack mastermind and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Lashkar’s Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don and key planner of 1993 Mumbai bombings Dawood Ibrahim have been designated as terrorist by the Centre.
These are the first designations of individual as terrorists after the government passed a bill in July seeking to designate a person (as opposed to an organisation) suspected to have terror links as a terrorist and allowing the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to attach properties linked to a terror investigation without taking permission from the state police.
While Azhar, Saeed and Lakhvi are Pakistanis, Dawood is an Indian currently believed to be living in Pakistan. Azhar-led Jaish was behind the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the Pulwama terror attack earlier this year, in which 40 jawans lost their lives. India, in a retaliatory attack, bombed a major Jaish camp in Balakot. He was listed as an international terrorist by United Nations Security Council on May 1, 2019.
Azhar, who was arrested from Kashmir’s Anantnag in 1994, was released in December 1999 after hijackers on an Indian Airlines Flight IC814 put his release as a condition for freeing the hostages.
Sayeed, on NIA’s most wanted list, is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks where 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. 174 people died, including 9 attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.
India has already banned Sayeed’s organisations Lashkar and Jamat-u-Dawa as have the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and Australia. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is chief operational commander of Lashkar.
Dawood Ibrahim, currently said to be residing in Pakistan, is believed to have played a key role in the 1993 bombings in Mumbai that killed more than 300 people. He has been on The World’s 10 Most Wanted list since 2010 and is designated a “global terrorist”.