Pakistan’s Cyber Recruitment to Respond to India’s Anti-Terror Crackdown
Pakistan-based terror groups have once again resorted to methods to revive terror in Jammu and Kashmir. A data suggests that the intelligence agency and terror groups in Pakistan are using applications in cyber and mobile space for the newest cyber recruitment to spread terrorism. This comes after the Indian security forces continue to crack down on Pakistan’s efforts in spreading terror in the Indian state using physical interactions.
Pakistan has been exposed several times by India and other countries for sponsoring and supporting regional and global terrorism. Their primary aggression in Jammu and Kashmir and in areas that are under its illegal and forcible control is the root cause of many problems in India. The experts have often warned that several areas of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) have now become the hub of terrorism. It acted as a safe haven for the terror organisations, giving them weapons training.
As physical interaction methods have been foiled by the Indian security forces lately, the Pakistani agencies have been forced to change their modus operandi. According to a recent intelligence report and technical surveillance, the ISI handlers from Pakistan have been focusing on building a false narrative, bringing forth fake videos of atrocities committed by Indian security forces to gather new recruits.
The aim has been to incite emotions amongst the new cyber recruitments to bring them into the terror group’s ranks and files. Such a move would not only sow the seeds of hatred but eventually lead to more chaos, fear, and turmoil in the society. Considering the upcoming crisis, India brought a shift in its policy. Rather than combating terrorism inside its territory, it decided to retaliate against the acts of terror caused in the country.
Last year, the Indian security agencies separated over two dozen terror modules and arrested nearly 40 similar sympathisers. Tawar Waghey and Amir Ahmed Mir, two terrorists who laid down their arms before 34 Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Army late last month confessed that cyber recruitment was being carried out on a massive scale.
Both the terrorists contacted a Pakistan-based handler through Facebook. They were brainwashed completely, before being handed over to a recruiter code – Khalid and Mohammed Abbas Sheikh. They were then given online training using links available on public platforms – YouTube. The security officials claimed that both met their contact only once in Shopian in Southern Kashmir.
After being recruited into The Resistance Front (TRF), which was a shadow outfit of banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorists received both the orders and religious teachings from Pakistan-based Burhan Hamza. Similarly, 40 other cases were found where the recruitment was done and indoctrination carried out through social media, mostly in the Southern part of Kashmir.
The death case of Amir Siraj, a 22-year-old local terrorist who died in north Kashmir last year, was another cyber recruitment case. Siraj went missing in June 2020 and was later found to be recruited by terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed from across the border via social media. The local terrorist was threatened to be killed along with his family if he tried to surrender.
Alongside the cyber recruitments, the Indian officials have also clarified that Pakistan-based terror groups are now shifting their focus on sending more arms and less manpower. The arms shortage has been considered one major reason behind the changing priorities.