Karachi: Reports on Wednesday (October 11) claimed that Shahid Lateef, one of the handlers of the 2016 Pathankot terror attack in India, was gunned down inside a mosque in Daska in Pakistan's Sialkot district by "unidentified" assailants. Considered as the mastermind behind the Pathankot Airforce station terrorist attack that took place in 2016, in which seven Indian Defence Force personnel were martyred, news of the most wanted terrorist Shahid Lateef reportedly killed in Pakistan comes days after Mufti Qaiser Farooq, who was a close aide of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed was gunned down in Pakistan's Karachi in October first week.
Who is Shahid Latif?
Soon after the 2016 Pathankot terror attacks, a special team was created within the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to gather information on the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). The Jammu and Kashmir Police was asked to chip in the investigations, according to reports.
It was JeM that was behind the attack on the Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016. Shahid Latif, who was in his early 40s then, was found to be the mastermind behind the attacks and had been elevated among the top three leaders of the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
Latif, a JeM commander, was highly active in the border areas and recruited young boys to undertake terror attacks in India.
Shahid Latif was also lodged for 16 years in an Indian prison, after he was first arrested in 1994 from Jammu in the Hazrat Bal shrine terror attack in Srinagar. He was also involved in narcotics trade, the proceeds of which he used to fund the terror activities.
He was convicted by a court in 1996 after a trial that lasted for two years and then shifted to a Varanasi prison on security grounds given the militancy in the valley being at its peak back then.
However, in 2010, he was deported to Pakistan as a goodwill gesture by the Manmohan Singh led UPA-II government. He had also completed his jail term under the Terrorist Activities Disruption Act (TADA). He was deported through the Wagah-Attari border to Pakistan along with 20 other prisoners.