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Truecaller identifies numbers called by Pathankot attackers as belonging to Pakistan residents

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:15 IST

The Indian Express used Truecaller, a free online resource to identify the owners of phone numbers, to track down five phone numbers called by the Pathankot terrorists on the night of the attack.

All five numbers appear to belong to residents of Pakistan. In one case, a Facebook page associated with one of the numbers, displayed pictures of armed Jaish-E-Mohammed (JeM) operatives, while another of the numbers is displayed in advertisements for al-Rahmat, the charitable face of JeM.

These phone numbers had been shared with the authorities in Pakistan by Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, but the Pakistani media reported thereafter that investigations had shown none of the five numbers were registered in Pakistan. Since Pakistan sells SIM cards only to those who provide biometric information, it was implied that these numbers did not exist.

The numbers were called by the terrorists on the night of 2 January, just before the attack on the Pathankot air base. They had been made on phones belonging to Ikagar Singh, the murdered taxi driver, jeweller Rajesh Verma, the friend of Punjab SP Salwinder Singh who had been abducted by the terrorists.

According to Truecaller, one of the five numbers the terrorists called belongs to 'Saad' whose mobile phone operator is Mobilink. This number is linked to a Facebook account operated by Saad Mughal from Sahiwal in Pakistani Punjab. The profile picture on the page is of Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of the JeM, and other pictures appear to be of jihadists, weapons in safehouses and anti-India propaganda posters.

Another number belongs to Kashif and is linked to a Facebook page in the name of Kashif Jan. Saad Mughal is one of Kashif's Facebook friends, and the page contains propaganda for Islamist causes, such as a campaign to free Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

A third number belongs to Molana, who also features as one of Saad Mughal's friends on Facebook under the name of Usman Sarwar, also from Sahiwal, and also linked to Kashif. Sarwar's page says he works full time at "Dawah (proselytisation) calling to Allah".

The fourth number is in the name of Jashe Islam, and has been used in advertisements asking for contributions for al-Rahmat, the charitable front of the JeM. Finally, the fifth number is in the name of The Truth is Out There.

The numbers have all either been switched off or are out of service.

First published: 13 January 2016, 9:16 IST