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In blow to terror, Pathankot attack mastermind Shahid Latif shot dead in Pakistan

Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Shahid Latif shot dead in Pakistan

Wanted Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Shahid Latif, the mastermind behind the 2016 Pathankot attack, has reportedly been shot down by unknown assailants in Pakistan a few hours ago.

Latif along with his driver, who was headed towards a mosque for Fajr (morning) prayers, was assassinated near Masjid Noor in Sialkot’s Daska. Two others accompanying him have been shot where one is dead and another injured.

Latif was the ‘key conspirator and co-coordinator’ of the 2016 Pathankot attack and the handler of the four terrorists who sneaked into Pathankot Air Force Station. He was also known to supervise launching of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists into India and also involved in planning, facilitation and execution of terror attacks in India.

The 2016 Pathankot attack claimed the lives of seven soldiers, while another 22 were wounded. The Air Force Airbase in Pathankot came under attack by heavily armed terrorists on January 2, 2016.The gun battle, which lasted nearly four days, resulted in the death of seven security personnel and a civilian. Four attackers were also killed in the gunfight. A day later, on January 3, another security officer at the airbase was killed following an Improvised Explosive device (IED) explosion.

Investigations into the attack revealed the terrorists belonged to the JeM terrorist group. Later, in March, the probe into the Pathankot terror strike was taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

As per an Indian Ministry of Home Affairs notification, Shahid Latif, who is also known by aliases ‘Chota Shahid Bhai’ and ‘Noor Al Din’, is categorised as a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

It further identifies him as a key member of proscribed terrorist organisation JeM, a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation and the ‘Launching Commander’ of the terrorist organisation’s Sialkot sector.

He infiltrated into Jammu & Kashmir from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 1993 and was arrested in the valley in 1994. He remained in Kot Balwal, Jammu jail for 16 years with JeM Chief Masood Azhar and was released in 2010 from India after which he was deported to Pakistan through Wagah border in Amritsar, Punjab. He was also an accused in the 24th December, 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines aircraft case (Kandhar Case).

It may be noted that prior to this another wanted terrorist Khalistani separatist Pakistan-based chief of Khalistan Commando Force’s (KCF) Paramjit Singh Panjwar died in similar manner in May this year. The police had held gang rivalry as a key reason behind the same.

Accompanied by two armed guards, Panjwar was taking a walk in a park inside SunFlower Housing Society in Lahore’s Johar Town when the two assailants struck. On January 27, 2020, the KLF’s Harmeet Singh was also gunned down close to Dera Chahal gurdwara located on the outskirts of Lahore.

Also read : Panjwar’s killing shows Pakistan no longer a safe-haven for India’s most wanted