In a significant development, one of India’s most wanted terrorists and the mastermind behind the Pathankot attack, Shahid Latif, was fatally shot by unidentified assailants in Pakistan’s Sialkot. He was wanted by India’s National Investigative Agency (NIA) in an Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case, as reported by India Today.
According to the reports, Shahid Latif was a senior leader of the terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the 2016 attack on the Pathankot Air Force base. The attack, which unfolded in January 2016, saw a heavily armed group attacking the Pathankot Air Force Station.
The gun battle between the security forces and the attackers raged for approximately 17 hours on January 2, 2016. Tragically, it resulted in the deaths of five attackers and six security personnel. The toll further rose as three more soldiers succumbed to their injuries, bringing the death toll to a total of nine security forces personnel. The aftermath of the attack also saw the loss of another security forces officer due to an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion.
The Pathankot attack, attributed to JeM, had significant consequences for India-Pakistan relations. To this day, the rift remains largely unresolved, underscoring the lasting impact of this tragic event.
Shahid Latif’s history was arrested in 1994 from Jammu in a case related to narcotics and terrorism. Subsequently, he was deported back to Pakistan through the Wagah border in 2010 after serving a 16-year prison sentence.
Latif’s listing as a terrorist by the Indian government followed the NIA’s findings that he had returned to the “Jihadi factory” in Pakistan after his release in 2010.
Notably, Shahid Latif’s name was part of the demands made by the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane IC814 in 1999 when it was hijacked and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan. However, it was Masood Azhar who was eventually released, along with two others, in exchange for the 189 passengers and crew members caught in the hostage situation on the plane.