Pakistani mercenaries operating in Jammu and Kashmir are tricking the youth into terrorism and using them as "terror mules" who can even be eliminated if they plan to shun the path of violence, senior security officials said on Sunday. Referring to an encounter in Budgam earlier this month and the call details of 24-year-old Wasim Qadir Mir, a resident of Shahzadpora, the officials said he was the latest victim of the despotic behaviour of the Pakistani terrorists who eliminated him during a gunfight with security forces in village Zoiu in the central Kashmir district on January 6.

Mir along with his two Pakistani accomplices were trapped in a cordon-and-search operation, leading to a fierce gunfight, they said, adding by dawn, it was common news that the security forces had eliminated yet another group of terrorists in an encounter but what was uncommon was the way the series of events unfolded during the encounter the preceding night.

"During the encounter Mir wanted to put down his arms probably with an aim to come out and surrender to the security forces but was forced by the two Pakistani terrorists to keep firing back.

"Details that emerged later including the post-mortem report further confirmed that Mir was actually killed by members of his own group, as a result of their failed attempts to resist him from surrendering," a senior official involved in the gunfight said.

Mir was a school dropout who initially worked as an Over Ground Worker and subsequently was recruited into the terror folds in December 2020 by JeM commander Saifulla alias "Lambu Bhai", a Pakistani terrorist.

Even though Mir's stint as an active terrorist was short, he had a long list of acts of terror attributed to him, including the Zewan attack in which three police personnel were killed and 11 others were injured on December 13 last year, the officials said.

They said it was probably his involvement in a long list of terror-related incidents that prevented him from re-joining the mainstream and eventually when he was given an opportunity by the security forces to save his own life, he did not stand a chance at the hands of the very companions for whom he was working as the "terror mule".

He said as it would have exposed the facade of the so-called local freedom movement and also shown the great human tragedy that the valley has been subjected to for the last three decades by Pakistan-based terror groups.

"As far as Kashmir is concerned, Pakistan's modus operandi continues to remain the same over the years -- infiltrate Pakistani terrorists into the valley in numbers, sizable enough to create and operate cellular groups of 3-4 terrorists, comprising at least one local boy," he said.

The official said Pakistan's strategic aim remains to mislead the global community and portray terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir as the result of a local uprising and an insurgent movement led by the local youth. They do it by creation of pseudo terror groups, namely Kashmir Tigers and The Resistance Front (TRF), which are only shadow outfits of banned terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashker-e-Taiba respectively.

The shadow groups were created by ISI coupled with the tactical aim of ensuring that these local Kashmiri recruits provide the much-needed logistical support to the foreign terrorists and act as a conduit to keep terrorism in the valley alive.

"But in reality, over the years these local recruits have been reduced to nothing but 'terror mules', acting as guides for the Pakistani terrorists, carrying the burden of Pakistan's misinformation campaign and exploited to keep its terror factory up and running in the valley," the official said.

He said the local Kashmiri recruit lies at the heart of this vicious terror cycle, carefully planned and surgically executed by ISI-backed terror groups, including JeM and LeT. On recruitment of the local youth into terrorism, the official said it all begins with "talent" spotting, where radicalised mind and religious leaning form the virtues of a potential recruit.

"After being employed initially for logistical errands, transportation of arms and ammunition and reconnaissance of potential targets, the local Kashmiri boys are tasked to carry out random acts of terror which include grenade throwing, planting IED and stand-off attacks against security forces," the official said.

"Once the routes back to a normal civil life are severed, the next step is to recruit them into the terror folds, followed with deliberate circulation of their photographs carrying arms, swearing allegiance to proscribed terror groups.

"If the persistence to surrender does not end there, they are intimidated by threatening the life of their loved ones by the same recruiters who forced them into terrorism," the official said, adding "no matter how hard one tries to give up arms and go back to their home and live a normal life, they just fail to come out of this vicious quicksand of Pakistan's terror cycle."