On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, in the eastern city of Daska, Punjab province, Pakistan, two gunmen entered a mosque, pretending to be worshippers, and opened fire on the congregation, resulting in two fatalities.
Among the deceased was Shahid Latif, identified as a close confidant to Masood Azhar, the founder of the anti-India militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad. Another worshipper, whose identity remains undisclosed, was also fatally shot.
Though no organization has publicly acknowledged the attack, the incident’s nature suggests a targeted killing. Hassan Iqbal, the local police chief, asserted that Latif was likely the primary target. However, specifics regarding the assailants or their motives were not provided by the authorities.
Latif’s association with the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammad group has placed him in a controversial spotlight. He was allegedly involved in the 2016 militant attack on an Indian military base located in Pathankot. This assault resulted in the tragic loss of seven Indian soldiers. Reports from various Indian media outlets have further accentuated Latif’s connection to this specific attack.
The strained relationship between India and Pakistan is well-documented, dating back to their mutual independence from Britain in 1947. Central to their dispute is the territory of Kashmir. This Himalayan region is divided between the two nations, but both lay full claim to it. This ongoing disagreement has culminated in three wars, further deepening the animosity between these South Asian neighbors.
While the ramifications of this recent attack in Daska are yet to be fully realized, it undeniably adds another layer of complexity to the intricate web of India-Pakistan relations. Both nations, along with the global community, await more detailed insights into this incident and its potential geopolitical implications.