Amid Death Speculations, Pak Media Says Masood Azhar is ‘Alive’
CNN News 18 claimed that Azhar is dead, quoting “highly placed sources in Pakistan”.
India's most wanted terrorist and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar is "alive", a Pakistani media report said on Sunday, 3 March quoting unnamed sources close to his family.
The media reports claiming that JeM leader is dead are false, Geo Urdu News reported. The report came amid speculation on social media that JeM founder has died.
However, there was no official confirmation.
Quoting unnamed sources close to the family of the JeM chief, the channel said Azhar is “alive”, without elaborating on his health condition.
There was no official word on Azhar's fate from the Pakistan government.
"I don't know anything at this moment," Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told PTI, when asked about media reports claiming death of Azhar.
Unconfirmed Reports in India
Days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar is "unwell in Pakistan", unconfirmed reports by several media houses have been doing the rounds suggesting that Azhar is dead.
Azhar-led JeM last month claimed responsibility for the attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred.
According to a CNN-News 18 report in which they have quoted “top intelligence sources”, Azhar died on Saturday, 2 March and a formal announcement will be made after an intimation from Army hospital. However, the language used in the report is inconclusive as to whether the death is confirmed.
The report said the cause of death remains unknown.
Zee News put out a similar report quoting their ‘sources’.
Intelligence agencies were trying to ascertain reports on the social media about the death of Azhar in Pakistan, PTI reported, quoting officials.
The officials said they had no information other than that Azhar was undergoing treatment at an army hospital after suffering renal failure.
Sources had earlier told PTI that Azhar was suspected to be afflicted with renal failure and was under regular dialysis at an army hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
The news comes just days after India conducted airstrikes across the LoC that destroyed JeM terror camps in Pakistan and PoK.
Twitter Explodes, Says ‘Verify, Then Talk’
Many took to Twitter and said that such reports should not be put out unless they are verified.
Many others took to Twitter to put out their own versions of the speculations. Some said that Azhar might have died in the air strikes carried out by the IAF on 26 February but Pakistan will never accept it.
In an interview to CNN, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi earlier admitted that the JeM chief is in Pakistan and is "very unwell", but said the government can act against him only if India presents "solid" and "inalienable" evidence that can stand in a court of law.
"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.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS and News18)
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