Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday tore into Congress party while accusing it of releasing a terrorist who later carried out Pathankot terror attacks in the country.
“How effective India’s position was post 26/11 is known to all. One of the former service chief has already said that they wanted to organise the air strikes at that time but the Prime Minister said no and post 26/11, within weeks 25 terrorists were released as a part of goodwill gesture so that Pakistan cooperates. Forget cooperation, one of them Shahid Latif who was then released as a goodwill gesture was then involved in Pathankot, years later”, said Jaitley while addressing media at the party’s headquarters.
This is not the first time that BJP used Latif’s release to attack Congress. In March, while responding to a tweet by Rahul Gandhi, where he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell the families of Pulwama brave hearts about who released Masood Azhar, the BJP in its defence cited Latif’s reference.
“You were probably busy playing video games when the whole nation was praying for the safe return of hijacked passengers. Do you know that all decisions regarding the hijacking were taken at the all-party meeting? Remember Latif, the handler of Pathankot was released by the UPA as a goodwill gesture,” the BJP had tweeted.
In 2010 under UPA rule, Shahid Latif, who allegedly provided logistical support to four Pakistanis who attacked Pathankot base, was released from an Indian prison. In Pathankot terror attack, seven military personnel were killed in a siege that lasted for around 72 hours.
Latif, a senior leader of JeM, was arrested from Jammu in a case related to terrorism and narcotics in 1996. The congress-led government released Latif to improve relations with Pakistan, along with nearly 20 others through Wagah border in Punjab.