Masood travelled to UK and Gulf to collect funds for Kashmiri militants
New Delhi: Terror mastermind Masood Azhar had undertaken a month-long sojourn to England to collect funds for militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir and received Rs 15 lakh (Pakistani currency), though he got a "very poor" response while travelling to Sharjah and Saudi Arabia before arriving in India in 1994.
Azhar, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammad, responsible for a series of terror strikes in India including the attack on Parliament in 2001 and a CRPF convoy in Pulwama last month, had procured a Pakistani passport in his real name and original address in 1986 and had extensively toured African and Gulf countries where he realised that the Arab nations were not sympathetic to the "Kashmir cause".
According to Azhar's interrogation report available with security agencies here, he had visited the UK in October 1992.
Mufti Simail, a cleric at a mosque at Southall in London, had facilitated his travel. Originally from Gujarat, Simail had studied at Darul-Ifta-Wal-Irshad in Karachi.
"I stayed with Mufti Ismail in the UK for about a month and visited several mosques in Birmingham, Nottingham, Burleigh, Sheffield, Dudsbury and Leicester where I sought financial assistance for Kashmir (militants). I could collect Rs 15 lakh (Pakistani currency)," he told his interrogators.
The terror mastermind also met other Muslim leaders in the UK including Maulana Iamail, who was also of Indian origin and had been engaged in construction of mosques and madrasas in Mangolia and Albania. In the early 1990s, Azhar had visited Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Kenya, Zambia and collected funds for the terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir.
Azhar had also visited Saudi Arabia for fund collection and contacted two main agencies in the country handling such aid but without success. One of them is Jamiat-ul-Islah, which is an ally of Jamaat-e-Islami.
"Since Hizbul Mujahideen owed allegiance to Jamat, we were politely refused any aid. The Arab nations as such do not want to give aid for the Kashmir cause," he told the interrogators.
In Abu Dhabi, Azhar could collect Rs 3 lakh in Pakistani currency, another Rs 3 lakh in Sharjah and Rs 2 lakh in Saudi Arabia on his second visit.
Azhar arrived in New Delhi in January 1994 with a fake Portugese passport.
The Ashok hotel in Delhi's posh Chanakyapuri area, which houses the diplomatic enclave, was the first stop of Azhar, who dodged immigration officials' queries about his Portugese passport by claiming he was a "Gujarati by birth".
The Pakistan-based terrorist, who was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir within the next two weeks, had also stayed in capital's hotel Janpath and visited Lucknow, Shahranpur and Islamic seminary Darul-uloom Deoband, according to his interrogation report.