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 Jaish-e-Mohammad

This Statement of Reasons is based on publicly available information about Jaish-e-Mohammad. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate, reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Name of the organisation

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

Known aliases

  • Afzal Guru Squad
  • Army of Mohammed
  • Army of the Prophet
  • Jaish-e-Mohammed
  • Jaish-e-Muhammed
  • Jaish-e-Muhammad
  • Jaish-i-Mohammed
  • Jaish-i-Mohammad
  • Jaish-i-Muhammad
  • Jaish-i-Muhammed
  • Jaish-e-Mohammad Mujahideen E-Tanzeem
  • Jamaat ul-Furqan (JuF)
  • Jeish-e-Mahammed
  • Jesh-e-Mohammadi
  • Khudamul Islam
  • Khuddam ul-Islam (KuI)
  • Kuddam e Islami
  • Mohammed’s Army
  • National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty and Army of the Prophet, and
  • Tehrik ul-Furqan.

Legislative basis for listing a terrorist organisation

Division 102 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (the Criminal Code) provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the AFP Minister (Minister for Home Affairs) must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:

  • is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act; or
  • advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

For the purposes of listing a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code, the doing of a terrorist act includes the doing of a specific terrorist act, the doing of more than one terrorist act and the doing of a terrorist act, even if a terrorist act does not occur.

Background to this listing

JeM was first proscribed as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code on 11 April 2003. It was subsequently relisted on:

  • 11 April 2005
  • 31 March 2007
  • 14 March 2009
  • 9 March 2012
  • 3 March 2015
  • 3 March 2018
  • 3 March 2021.

Details of the organisation

Organisational overview and objectives

JeM is a Pakistan-based Sunni Islamist extremist organisation which primarily conducts terrorist attacks in the Indian-administered region of Jammu and Kashmir. JeM continues to call for the use of violence in pursuit of its stated objective of forcing the withdrawal of Indian security forces from Indian-administered Kashmir with the goal of placing Jammu and Kashmir under the control of Pakistan.

Leadership

JeM was founded in 2000 by Maulana Masood Azhar, a radical Islamist scholar and jihadist leader, following his release from an Indian jail on 31 December 1999 in exchange for 155 hostages hijacked aboard an Indian Airlines aircraft. Azhar reportedly formed JeM with the support of the Afghan Taliban, Osama bin Laden and several Sunni extremist organisations in Pakistan.

JeM has a decentralised, cellular structure led by regional commanders who report to Azhar. In 2019, it was reported Azhar was suffering from health issues and Azhar’s brother and JeM second in command Asghar Abdul Rauf Asghar had taken over as de facto emir of JeM. However, Masood Azhar remains the official leader of JeM.

Membership

The figures on membership numbers for JeM are variable. Media reporting from mid-2019 states there were approximately 56 active JeM members in Jammu and Kashmir. UN reporting from May 2020 indicates, however, that JeM has approximately 230 armed fighters co-located with Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

Funding

JeM derives income from both legitimate business interests and Islamic charitable foundations. The Al-Rehmat Trust is the principal source of income for JeM and continues to operate despite being sanctioned by several countries. In June 2019, two JeM supporters were found guilty by a Pakistani antiterrorism court of raising funds for JeM during a religious congregation in Manghopir.

The Al-Rehmat Trust and Al-Furqan Trust were banned by the Pakistani government in May 2019 for their ties to JeM.

JeM supports over 300 Islamic institutions in Pakistan and gathers donations from attendees at these institutions. Publicly, the donations are stated to provide “cash and medicine to students of servants of religious schools and centres; orphans, widows and those afflicted with disaster; and migrants on the path to God.”

The United States’ Bureau of Counterterrorism’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2019 notes that JeM has withdrawn funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and the production of consumer goods.

Links to other terrorist organisations

JeM has links to extremist groups, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba, with which its membership probably overlaps. It maintains operational links with other groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, particularly Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and has ties to al-Qa’ida and the Taliban.

Terrorist activity

Directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

JeM is directly engaged in preparing, planning and undertaking terrorist acts. JeM has not engaged in large-scale attacks since February 2019; however, continued arrests and clashes with Indian security forces indicate the group is still active in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • On 14 February 2019, JeM claimed responsibility for and is assessed to have undertaken a suicide attack (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) on a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway, in Pulwama district. The attack resulted in the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.  This incident resulted in widespread protests, significant international media attention and a tense military standoff between Pakistan and India.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

JeM’s leadership has publicly advocated terrorist attacks online, and through rallies and religious sermons in Kashmir.

  • On 22 March 2019, JeM leader Chief Masood Azhar appeared in a video declaring those who denied jihad as infidels, promoting violent jihad against India and supporting martyrdom and violence as part of jihad. In this video, Azhar referenced ‘a battle for India’, and the ‘mujahideen’ engaging in ‘murderfight’ and achieving ‘martyrdom’ by going ‘out into the battlefields to sacrifice their lives’.

Other considerations

Links to Australia

There are no known direct links between JeM and Australia.

Threats to Australian interests

There are no known direct links between JeM and Australia. JeM has not made statements specifically threatening Australians or Australian interests. However, it would consider Westerners, including Australians, to be legitimate targets for attack. JeM leaders have reportedly called for jihad against the US, along with Israel and India during rallies in Kashmir.

JeM has historically conducted attacks indiscriminately to achieve its objectives, including targeting foreigners.

Listings by likeminded countries or the United Nations

JeM is listed as a proscribed terrorist organisation in the United Nations 1267 Committee’s consolidated list and by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The United Nations designated Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist in May 2019.

Engagement in peace or mediation processes

JeM is not engaged in any peace or mediation process.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, the Australian Government assesses that JeM continues to be directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts, and advocates the doing of terrorist acts.​​​​​