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 Jaish-e-Mohammed

(Also known as: Army of Mohammed; Army of the Prophet; Jaish-e-Mohammed; Jaish-e-Muhammed, Jaish-i-Mohammed; Jaish-i-Mohammad; Jaish-i-Muhammad; Jaish-i-Muhammed; Jaish-e-Mohammad Mujahideen E-Tanzeem; Jamaat ul-Furqan; Jeish-e-Mahammed; Jesh-e-Mohammadi; Khudamul Islam; Khuddam ul-Islam; Kuddam e Islami; Mohammed's Army; National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty and Army of the Prophet; Tehrik Ul-Furqaan.)

Listed 11 April 2003, re-listed 11 April 2005, 31 March 2007, 14 March 2009, 9 March 2012 and 3 March 2015.

The following information is based on publicly available details about the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). To the Australian Government's knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Basis for listing a terrorist organisation

Division 102 of the Criminal Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney-General 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.

Current assessment

Since the last listing, we have not observed JeM as a group directly or indirectly involved in, or assisting in, the doing of terrorist acts. However, we assess JeM, through leadership statements, currently advocates the doing of terrorist acts.

Individual JeM militants have likely been involved in a small number of terrorist acts in Indian Administered Kashmir (IAK) in 2013 and 2014, however based on current reporting these actions cannot be ascribed with any confidence to JeM as a group. In contrast, statements made in 2014 by JeM leader Maulana Masood Azhar which advocate terrorist acts can be ascribed, due to his leadership position, to JeM. In this case the advocating for jihad against Indian interests to liberate IAK, targeting Israeli and US interests and exacting revenge for the death of a well-known JeM militant. 

Objectives and Formation

A Pakistan-based fundamentalist Sunni Islamist organisation, JeM historically operated in Jammu and IAK. JeM used violence in pursuit of its stated objective of forcing the withdrawal of Indian security forces from IAK and uniting IAK with Pakistan under a radical interpretation of Islamic law.

We assess JeM's once broad operational focus no longer exists; at its height JeM was able to undertake attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India—both within and external to IAK. Previous notable attacks outside IAK include the assault on India's Parliament building in 2001, the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 and two assassination attempts against Pakistani President Musharraf in 2003.

Leadership and membership

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

There is no reporting on current membership numbers for JeM. However, in 2012 reports estimated JeM to have several hundred armed supporters. At a January 2014 rally in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Azhar claimed there were 313 fidayeens[1] in the gathering. Given the public relations aspect of this rally we assess this claim was likely to be inflated and is not a reflection of JeM's current membership.

Funding

JeM was linked to both legitimate business interests and Islamic charitable foundations, including:

  • the Al-Rehmat Trust, which collects donations publicly 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 Maymar Trust, which is the largest charity network in Pakistan. The Maymar Trust has legitimately provided aid to people affected by droughts in North Pakistan, floods in the south and thousands of internally displaced persons.
    • However, this was formerly known as the Al-Rashid Trust which was listed by the US Department of Treasury as a designated terrorist support organisation in 2001 for its links to JeM. It is unclear if these links remain.

It is unknown whether these charities continue to redirect funding towards the IAK militancy, including for militants, their families and prisoners' families.

Advocating the doing of a terrorist act

On 26 January 2014[2], Azhar addressed (via telephone) a large rally in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, to launch a book based on diary entries of Afzal Guru[3]. The book reportedly includes text espousing and exhorting for jihad in Kashmir. This rally marked Azhar's first public discourse—if not appearance—in 10 years. The rally and speech reportedly focused on Guru's execution and the IAK struggle, with the crowd responding by chanting slogans favouring renewed jihad to liberate Kashmir.

Azhar reportedly made a number of statements during the rally that we assess demonstrate advocacy of terrorist acts[4]. Azhar reportedly:

  • claimed that India would face a chilling or dreaded revenge for executing Guru
  • called on Pakistan to lift restrictions on jihad
  • described militants as not terrorists but formidable fighters
  • said jihad was the only way to liberate the occupied territory, when recalling repressive measures by Indian military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir,
  • called for the raising of an army to wage war against India and said "Let us aim guns at India first"…"we will move to Israel and United states later" and
  • threatened to attack election rallies in India.

No attacks eventuated from this appearance—however, this is not necessary for meeting the threshold of advocating the doing of a terrorist act. Further, given the public relations elements of this rally, comments made by Azhar, due to his leadership position, are assessed to be reflective of JeM's current ideology and advocacy for the doing of terrorist acts. Specifically promoting and encouraging acts (revenge, jihad, waging war, attacking) designed for a political end—liberation of Kashmir from Indian control—that endanger or cause serious harm. Appearances and statements by Azhar are rare, as JeM is banned in both India and Pakistan. We would not expect further appearances or statements to have occurred since the January 2014 rally. Further, there have been no reported statements made by JeM (or JeM senior figures) since this rally to disavow or contradict Azhar's statements; which are a reflection of JeM's founding ideology. As such we assess the promotion and encouragement of terrorist acts evidenced by Azhar's statements at the rally remain JEM's current ideological stance.

Since Azhar's statements, Syed Salahudin, the current leader of the United Jihad Council (UJC) that includes JeM, has stated he would welcome the involvement of al-Qaida, the Taliban or other organisations in the Kashmir conflict (July 2014) and described a proscribed terrorist (Ansarul Ummah chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil) as a soldier of Pakistan and a hero of Kashmiris. While these comments cannot be ascribed to JeM, through JeM's membership of UJC they indicate JeM's ongoing alignment to advocacy (including glorification) of terrorist acts.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

In the period since Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was last proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Australia in 2012, we have not observed the group directly or indirectly involved in, or assisting in, the doing of terrorist acts. JeM (as a group) has not been associated with an attack for over five years—the last incident was in 2009 when a suspected JeM member killed a police officer in Srinagar, Indian Administered Kashmir (IAK).  

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

There were a small number of reports during 2013 and 2014 of individuals reported as JeM militants being involved in violent altercations with security forces in IAK. While these reports may indicate that militants who are active in the IAK conflict retain a JeM ideology or have historical linkages to JeM they do not demonstrate that their activity is directed or controlled by JeM at an organisational level.

  • In 2013 and 2014 there were three reports of JeM militants attacking Indian security forces in IAK; one attack involved grenades and gunfire against army personnel, and two attacks involved gunfire against military personnel.

Directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning the doing of terrorist acts

There were a small number of reports during 2013 and 2014 of individuals reported as JeM militants being killed in IAK. While the presence of militants could imply potential planning or preparation for a terrorist act, due to lack of detail on the circumstances of the deaths, we cannot say with any certainty whether the individuals were involved in preparing or planning a terrorist act at the time of their death.

Directly or indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts

Militants traditionally associated with JeM reportedly continue to provide both religious instruction and military style guerrilla training in a number of camps in Pakistan. We have no reporting to suggest this is organised at a group level.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information ASIO assesses JeM advocates the doing of terrorist acts. Statements on advocating the doing of a terrorist act by JeM's leader are assessed to be reflective of JeM's longstanding adherence to a belief in violence as a means to achieve political objectives.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, the JeM is known to have advocated for violent action:

  • that would advance the JeMs political, ideological or religious causes;
  • with the intention to coerce or influence by intimidation the government of a foreign country; and
  • is done to intimidate a section of the public of a foreign country.

Other relevant information

Links to other terrorist groups or networks

JeM is a member of the UJC, which was formed in 1990 to bring all Kashmir-focused militant groups under a single banner. Other major groups in the UJC are Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Hizb-ul-Mominee and the Al Badr Mujahideen.

Engagement in peace or mediation processes

There is no reporting of JeM being involved in or part of peace or mediation processes.

Threats to Australian interests

In the last three years there is no reporting that JeM as a group is still involved in planning terrorist attacks against the Afghan Government and Coalition forces in Afghanistan—or against wider targets globally, including Western interests. JeM advocacy has not specially named Australian or general western interests, however we note mention of US and Israeli interests in Azhar's 2014 appearance. In addition, actions of individual JeM militants are currently focused on IAK and Indian interests. As such, JeM currently poses no direct threat to Australian interests.

Proscription by the UN and other countries

JeM remains a proscribed organisation in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and New Zealand according to each country's respective proscription regime.

Footnotes

[1] A reference to one whom is ready to sacrifice their life for a cause, reported by one paper as a reference to suicide bombers, however it could also be a reference to fighters—commandos or guerrillas.

[2] Indian Republic Day honouring the date that the Constitution of India came into force.

[3] Guru was executed on 9 February 2013 in India for the 2001 Delhi Parliament attack claimed by JeM.

[4] Journalists were banned from taking recording devices into the rally. However given the consistency of detail published across a range of media publications in both India and Afghanistan, by a number of different journalists, we asses that the media reporting of the rally is likely to be reliable and credible.