Shahid Latif, a member of Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and accused of coordinating the Pathankot airbase attack in January, had been reportedly released by the UPA government in 2010 in an effort to mend relations with Pakistan.
Latif was freed on 28 May, 2010 along with 25 others after spending 11 years in jail as a “goodwill gesture” by the Manmohan Singh government, according to a report by Times of India. These militants, reportedly from Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and JeM, were deported to Pakistan from their respective jails via the Wagah border.
Latif’s name also appeared on the release list of JeM terrorists who had hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999. The then Vajpayee government had, however, only exchanged three fidayeens including Maulana Masood Azhar in exchange for 154 passengers of the flight, the report further said. Latif on the other hand, was shifted to the Varanasi central jail in 2002 from a prison in Jammu and Kashmir.
He launches and heads the JeM cadres in India. Presently Latif is wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the Pathankot attack. It has sent a ‘formal request’ to Pakistan to continue its probe in that country and record the statements of JeM chief Masood Azhar, Abdul Rauf, Shahid Latif and Kahif Jaan, according to a report by The Indian Express.
After securing an arrest warrant from a special court, the NIA approached the Interpol for issuing a Red Corner Notice against the four main conspirators of the Pathankot attck, including Latif. A dossier along with the non-bailable warrant issued by a special NIA court in Mohali in Punjab was sent to the CBI, which is the nodal agency representing the Interpol in the country.
This also instigated Sambit Patra, the BJP spokesperson to attack the Congress:
So the Pathankot handler &JeM terrorist Shahid Latif, was realeased from Indian Jail by the UPA govt in 2010 as a Good - Will gesture #Shame
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 17, 2016
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Updated Date: May 17, 2016 14:17:11 IST