Pulwama Attack Mastermind Masood Azhar Is Alive, Claims Pakistani Media Report
Quoting unnamed sources who are reportedly close to Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar, a Pakistani media report has outright reported the claim that Azhar is dead. Geo Urdu News stated that while Azhar is alive, it refused to share any further details on his health conditions.
Meanwhile, denying speculations and rumours that Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar was killed in Balakot’s IAF strike, intelligence sources told The Times Of India that he is alive and has been shifted to Jaish camp in Goth Ghanni in Bahawalpur from its Rawalpindi base hospital on Sunday, March 3, at around 7.30 pm. However, Jaish has been constant in claiming that Azhar did not die. The Pakistani government has also not provided any official statement on this matter as well.
Masood Azhar is alive
On Sunday, rumours about Azhar’s death had started swirling. A blog post, which was both anonymous and unconfirmed, claimed that Azhar and Colonel Salim of the ISI were critically injured during the Balakot strike. Further, the post claimed that Azhar had died on Saturday, March 2. According to other sources, Azhar was in Balakot last in October after his nephew was killed by Indian security forces. Last week, however, it had been confirmed by Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that Azhar was in Pakistan but was so unwell that he could not leave his house.
According to India Today, speculation of his death with #MasoodAzharDEAD was leading the Twitter trending list on Sunday. Meanwhile, Indian intelligence in New Delhi was trying to confirm the news of Azhar’s death which was making rounds on social media, however, officials said that they had no other information other than the fact that Azhar had been undergoing treatment for renal failure and that he has been unwell.
Masood Azhar is still alive some people only want him to come on media and say “India is again wrong” https://t.co/WjfpUmVEbj
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) March 3, 2019
The Imran Khan government was lashed out at by Jaish, shortly after Azhar was reportedly moved, and was accused that it bowed its head under pressure from India and the international community.
Known to have a renal ailment, Azhar was being treated for several months at Rawalpindi Army hospital, reported The Times Of India. Sources said that ten Pakistan Special Service Group commandos were provided to Azhar as additional security cover following the attack in Pulwama that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans. Jaish said in a statement that although their training centre at Balakot had been struck at by IAF, there were no casualties. “India’s fighter jets, with Israeli guided missiles, attacked us but Allah’s angels diverted them and protected us,” Jaish said.
Jaish slams the Imran Khan government
Jaish claimed in a statement that the former President General Pervez Musharraf’s policies are now being followed by the Imran Khan government. Following the 9/11 attack, several terror groups had been cracked down on by Musharraf after Pakistan was told by the US to take a clear stand against terrorism.
In the statement, Jaish further accused the Imran Khan government of being soft towards the enemy (India) and harsh on Jaish, their own people. “First they released the Indian pilot and now they have decided to crack down on our seminaries,” the statement said. The cadres were asked by the outfit to further be ready for new struggle and migration.
At a time when there is a renewed bid by India to get the UN Security Council to put sanctions on Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Azhar by the 1267 committee. A resolution has been co-sponsored by France along with the UK and the US. This month, the presidentship of the UNSC was taken over by France. In order to make a decision, China has blocked this in the past. Many suspected that the report had come out at this time to deflect the focus away from Azhar.
Azhar’s brother confirms JeM camp being hit by India
Earlier, doubts had been raised by the Pakistan establishment and sections of western media on whether India did strike the target in Balakot, but countering the denials, Azhar’s younger brother Maulana Ammar confirmed in an audio clip that Indian fighter jets had indeed hit the JeM camp in Khyber Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan.
“The Indian aircraft did not attack any safe house of any agency. It did not bomb the headquarters of any agency. They bombed a centre where students were learning jihad for the assistance of Muslims of Kashmir,” the voice can be heard saying in a recording available on social media. He further said that by doing this, India has itself declared war, and has ensured that Pakistan starts their Jihad against it, reported The Times Of India. He also criticised the Pakistan government for releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The speech was reportedly delivered at a gathering of clerics at Peshawar a day after the strikes.