Shahid Latif, a wanted terrorist from India belonging to the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) group, was fatally shot in a mosque in Pakistan’s Sialkot district. The incident occurred when two unidentified assailants entered the Noor Madina mosque in Daska town and opened fire, killing Latif and another person, believed to be his brother, Haris Hashim. The attackers arrived on a motorcycle and targeted the victims as they were leaving the mosque after pre-dawn prayers on Wednesday.
Latif’s killing adds to a series of India-designated terrorists being mysteriously killed outside the country. In recent months, several terrorists, including Riyaz Ahmad alias Abu Qasim and Bashir Ahmad Peer, were killed in Pakistan. Additionally, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist considered a terrorist by India, was killed in Canada earlier this year.
Latif, also known as Bilal, was a member of the JeM group responsible for carrying out multiple high-profile attacks against India. He was designated as a terrorist under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and was considered the mastermind behind the 2016 Pathankot terror attack. Latif was also the handler of the four Jaish terrorists who attacked an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, resulting in the death of seven personnel.
Local authorities have initiated an investigation into the shooting, but no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack. Experts speculate that the targeted killings of these terrorists in Pakistan may be a result of rivalry between different terrorist groups operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The rivalry has intensified in recent years, with new groups like the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emerging as major forces against Pakistan.
The motive behind these selective counter-terrorism measures by the Pakistan establishment remains unclear. Some analysts suggest it could be an attempt to gain the trust of international actors.