Is Masood Azhar dead or alive? JeM denies, says its chief is alive and well

March 3, 2019
NEW DELHI: Rumours are afloat that Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar is no more. Unconfirmed reports said Azhar was admitted to an army hospital in Islamabad and died on Saturday.

Pakistan has not responded to the "news". Speculation also intensified on Twitter. #MasoodAzharDEAD was trending high on Sunday.

However, JeM has released a statement saying that he is alive. Pakistani Geo News has also reported that the news is false.

But Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told CNN in an interview two days ago that the JeM chief was sick and receiving treatment for renal failure and that he was confined to his house. This has lent credence to the rumour.

"He is in Pakistan, according to my information. He is unwell to the extent that he can't leave his house, because he's really unwell," Qureshi said.

The 50-year-old Masood Azhar is a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan's Punjab province. He formed Jaish-e-Mohammed in 2000.

In the year 1999 Azhar was in Indian custody and the Indian Airlines plane IC-814 was hijacked to secure his release in exchange for the passengers. Terrorists affiliated to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen were the hijackers.

He was released by the NDA Government. He was also the mastermind behind the 2001 Parliament attack, the suicide attack on Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly, Pathankot IAF base attack and the Pulwama terror strike last month, for which he has claimed responsibility.

He is said to enjoy the support of Pakistan's ISI.

On last Wednesday, the US, UK and France moved a fresh proposal at the UN Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, which will see sanctions imposed on him by many countries.

A Council panel will take up the matter within 10 days. The current proposal is the fourth at the UN in the last 10 years.

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