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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 12:35 GMT
Jaish-e-Mohammad: A profile
A photograph by Indian security agencies shows Islamic militants training in Pakistan
Kashmir has been the focus of Jaish-e-Mohammad
Jaish-e-Mohammad is a relatively new but rapidly growing group.

The group emerged out of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in the months following the hijack of an Indian Airlines plane from Kathmandu in December 1999.

The hijackers demanded the release of three militant leaders, two of whom later became leading figures of Jaish-e-Mohammad.

The group has continued to grow and until recently reportedly had the support of a large number of religious seminaries in Pakistan.

India blames Jaish-e-Mohammad along with another militant group for an attack on its parliament in Delhi in December last year.

The group denies the charge but the attack led the US State Department and the Pakistan Government to impose a ban on it for alleged terrorist activities.

The men behind

Jaish-e-Mohammad is believed to have been started by a Muslim cleric, Maulana Masood Azhar.

Maulana Masood Azhar
Azhar - one of India's most wanted men

Mr Azhar was among the three militant leaders set free by the Indian authorities in exchange for the hostages held with the Indian Airlines plane.

He is now one of India's most wanted men.

A close associate of Azhar - Sheikh Omar - was also set free.

Born in England, Mr Omar studied at the London School of Economics for a year.

Pakistani police are now hunting for Omar who they are reported to believe is directly involved in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal correspondent, Daniel Pearl.


Jaish-e-Mohammad literally means the Army of Mohammad.

Daniel Pearl in capitivity
Kidnapped while chasing a story

Largely based in Pakistan, the group has been linked to a string of violent attacks in India, especially in Indian-administered Kashmir.

It claims to be fighting, what it describes as a holy war, to overthrow Indian rule in Kashmir.

The group is also believed to have had close links with the former Taleban regime of Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Mr Azhar visited Afghanistan earlier where he was reported to have met the leader of the vanquished Taleban movement, Mullah Omar, and also Osama Bin Laden.

Mr Azhar was placed under detention after the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, banned his Jaish-e-Mohammad group last month.

See also:

04 Feb 02 | South Asia
Hunt goes on for US journalist
29 Jan 02 | South Asia
US concern over missing journalist
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