Pulwama Attack Mastermind Masood Azhar In Pakistan, Confirms Pak Foreign Minister
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has confirmed that terror mastermind and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) supremo Masood Azhar is in the country. The terror group was responsible for carrying out the dastardly Pulwama attack on February 14 which left over 40 CRPF jawans martyred. This can be deemed as the first official acknowledgement of India’s allegation that Pakistan harbours the terror mastermind.
What did Qureshi say?
In an interview with CNN, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Masood Azhar is “unwell”, so much that he “can’t even leave his house.” “He is in Pakistan, according to my information. He is very unwell. He is unwell to the extent that he cannot leave his house because he is really unwell. That’s the information I have,” he said.
This development comes at a time when India and Pakistan — both nuclear-armed nations — are caught amidst escalated tensions. Moreover, diplomatic pressure from the world over is mounting on Pakistan with regards to harbouring terror outfits like JeM on its soil. Jaish has been responsible for multiple terror attacks on India in the last couple of decades, with the February 14 one being the most recent. Moreover, India has been trying very hard on a global stage to brand Azhar as a global terrorist, especially at the United Nations, however, permanent Security Council member China has been blocking India’s attempts.
However, Qureshi in the interview said that Pakistan is ready to take action against Azhar if India can provide evidence which can “stand in the court of law.” He said, “If they (India) give us evidence which is acceptable to the courts of Pakistan – after all we will have to justify, they will go to court – and if they have solid, inalienable evidence, share it with us so that we can convince the people and convince the independent judiciary of Pakistan.” He also said that the release of Indian Air Force air commander Abhinandan Varthaman is a gesture of peace and that this should be viewed as Pakistan’s attempt to de-escalate tensions between the two countries.
Meanwhile, on February 27, India handed over a detailed dossier to Pakistan which contained detailed evidence of the fact that JeM was behind the February 14 terror attacks. According to Times Of India, officials expected Pakistan to act against those whose names are explicitly mentioned in the dossier including that of Azhar, however, considering its history, this seems unlikely.
India earlier also after the 2001 Parliament attack, Uri and Pathankot attack respectively, the Indian government had shared details of the evidence with Pakistan which failed to take any action against the accused.