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Masood Azhar travelled to UK, Gulf, Africa to collect funds for Kashmiri militants

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Terror mastermind had undertaken a month-long sojourn to England to collect funds for militants operating in Jammu and and received Rs 15 lakh (Pakistani currency), though he got a "very poor" response while travelling to and before arriving in in 1994.

Azhar, the of Jaish-e-Mohammad, responsible for a series of terror strikes in including the attack on Parliament in 2001 and a CRPF convoy in Pulwama last month, had procured a Pakistani passport in his real name and original address in 1986 and had extensively toured African and Gulf where he realised that the Arab nations were not sympathetic to the "cause".

According to Azhar's interrogation report available with security agencies here, he had visited the UK in October 1992.

Mufti Simail, a at a mosque at Southall in London, had facilitated his travel. Originally from Gujarat, had studied at Darul-Ifta-Wal-Irshad in

"I stayed with Mufti Ismail in the UK for about a month and visited several mosques in Birmingham, Nottingham, Burleigh, Sheffield, and where I sought financial assistance for (militants). I could collect Rs 15 lakh (Pakistani currency)," he told his interrogators.

The terror mastermind also met other Muslim leaders in the UK including Maulana Iamail, who was also of Indian origin and had been engaged in construction of mosques and madrasas in Mangolia and

In the early 1990s, had visited Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Kenya, and collected funds for the terrorists operating in

had also visited for fund collection and contacted two main agencies in the country handling such aid but without success. One of them is Jamiat-ul-Islah, which is an ally of

"Since Hizbul Mujahideen owed allegiance to Jamat, we were politely refused any aid. The Arab nations as such do not want to give aid for the Kashmir cause," he told the interrogators.

In Abu Dhabi, Azhar could collect Rs 3 lakh in Pakistani currency, another Rs 3 lakh in and Rs 2 lakh in on his second visit.

Azhar arrived in in January 1994 with a fake Portugese passport.

The Ashok hotelin Delhi's posh Chanakyapuri area, which houses the diplomatic enclave, was the first stop of Azhar, who dodged immigration officials' queries about his Portugese passport by claiming he was a "Gujarati by birth".

The Pakistan-based terrorist, who was arrested in within the next two weeks, had also stayed in capital's and visited Lucknow, Shahranpur and Islamic seminary Darul-uloom Deoband, according to his interrogation report.

"I spent two days in and thereafter travelled to by (Biman), reaching the in the early hours of January 29, 1994. The immigration officials at the IGI commented that I did not look like a Portuguese but when I replied that that I was a Gujarati by birth, he did not hesitate to stamp my passport.

"I hired a taxi and asked (the driver) for a good hotel. I was taken to the in Chanakyapuri where I stayed," the interrogation report read.

After arriving in the national capital, Azhar went to Darul-uloom Deoband , Gungoh and then Saharanpur before returning to two days later.

On reaching Delhi, Azhar stayed at located near Connaught Place. Since his flight to was booked for February 9, he decided to visit one Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi alias Ali Mian at his madrassa in

Azhar reached on February 9, 1994 where he stayed at the Madrasa Qasmian in Lal Bazar.

Later in the evening, a militant, Sajjad Afghani, came to meet him along with his deputy of Harkat-ul-

The next morning, on February 10, he was escorted by Afghani to a place called Matigund where all Pakistan/PoK-based terrorists had gathered.

"They (the terrorists) were happy about my visit and merger of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul- I had taken their addresses and letters so that I could communicate their welfare to their families after returning to Pakistan," he had told the interrogators.

While returning from Matigund, accompanied by Afghani and one Farooq, a militant of Matigund area, who was armed and had a wireless set, the car developed some trouble and stopped.

Azhar and his accomplice boarded a three-wheeler and proceeded to Anantnag. After travelling for about 2-3 km, the auto rickshaw was stopped by personnel, according to the report.

"Farooq started running and opened fire which was returned by the men. Farooq managed to escape but I along with Afghani was arrested," he told the interrogators.

Azhar was freed from an Indian prison in 1999 along with two other terrorists in exchange for passengers of an aircraft which was hijacked and taken to in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 17 2019. 15:45 IST