Reports of Maulana Masood Azhar's death was trending on Twitter on Sunday with netizens claiming that the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief and mastermind of the Pulwama attack had succumbed to the injuries sustained during India's Balakot air strikes
New Delhi: The media in Pakistan has rejected reports that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar died following India's Balakot air strikes.
A section of the media — both mainstream and social — in India claimed on Sunday that the terror kingpin and mastermind of the February 14 Pulwama attacks had succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the retaliatory strikes conducted by India inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The strikes launched 12 days after the Pulwama attack reportedly targeted JeM training camps and wiped out around 300 terrorists. An US-origin Pakistani F-16 was also taken down by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Geo Urdu News of Pakistan quoted unnamed sources close to Azhar's family to say that the dreaded terrorist is still alive, but did not give details on his health.
The Pakistan government is yet to confirm Azhar's 'death', though it had earlier accepted that Azhar was in its territory and that he was unwell. In an interview with CNN, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Azhar was unwell, so much so, that he was not able to leave his house.
“He (Azhar) is in Pakistan, according to my information. He is very unwell. He is unwell to the extent that he cannot leave his house,” Qureshi told CNN.
#MasoodAzharDEAD was trending on Twitter on Sunday and netizens were claiming that Azhar was badly injured after the IAF bombing and was taken to hospital in Pakistan, but that the authorities were trying to hide it and term it as a natural death.
Azhar is suspected to be afflicted with renal failure and is under regular dialysis at an army hospital in Rawalpindi in Pakistan.
Pakistan's federal information minister Fawad Chaudhry was tight-lipped when asked about the claims of Azhar's death.
Pakistani journalist and author Hamid Mir, however, trashed India's claims and boldly tweeted that the terror chief was still alive.
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
Journalist of Pakistani origin Naila Inayat, south Asia correspondent with Associated Reporters Abroad, on the other hand, poked fun at Azhar and a Pakistani government in a sarcastic tweet.
"Nobel Peace Prize for Masood Azhar for not dying on us," she tweeted.
Nobel Peace Prize for Masood Azhar for not dying on us.— Naila Inayat ????? ????? (@nailainayat) March 3, 2019
Pakistan has also denied Azhar's role in the Pulwama attack in spite of India furnishing evidence of his active involvement in the terror strike that killed nearly 50 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans.
According to sources, the government has given the details of Azhar’s audio and video recordings in which he is heard praising the Pulwama attacker.
The fresh dossier given to Pakistan by the Indian government has the residential details and last location of JeM head Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba-turned-Jamaat-ud-Dawah’s head Hafiz Saeed along with their videos where they are seen provoking mobs against India, asking them to keep Jammu and Kashmir on the boil.
India received unprecedented support from the international community, including the powerful United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which comprises, among others, veto-wielding China, against Pakistan-sponsored terror in the wake of the Pulwama attack, and despite China repeatedly blocking India’s bid to get the UNSC to declare Azhar as a global terrorist, the press statement named JeM which Azhar leads.
In 2009, India had moved to get him banned by the Sanctions Committee. In 2016, India, along with the US, the UK and France had moved for the same. Once again, such a bid in 2017 was sabotaged by China.
A UNSC ban on Azhar and the others will help in imposing target sanctions on these men including assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
Last Updated 10:22 PM IST