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Masood Azhar is Alive, Says Pakistan Minister Day After Rumours of JeM Chief’s Death

Media reports had claimed on Sunday that Azhar had died at an army hospital in Islamabad, two days after Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed his presence in the country.

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Updated:March 4, 2019, 5:45 PM IST
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Masood Azhar is Alive, Says Pakistan Minister Day After Rumours of JeM Chief’s Death
File photo of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.
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New Delhi: Maulana Masood Azhar is alive, a provincial minister in Pakistan’s Punjab said on Monday, a day after rumours of the JeM chief’s death did rounds of social media.

“He is alive. Maulana Masood Azhar is alive. We have no information of his death,” news agency ANI quoted Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan, the culture and information minister of Pakistan’s Punjab, as saying.

Media reports had claimed on Sunday that Azhar had died at an army hospital in Islamabad, two days after Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed his presence in the country.

In an interview to CNN on March 1, had said, "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 had added that Pakistan government would act against him only if New Delhi presented "solid" and "inalienable" evidence that can stand in a court of law.

India has been trying to get Azhar designated a global terrorist by the UN and had intensified lobbying for the same following the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) had claimed responsibility for the attack.

On February 26, India had launched air strikes on what was said to be JeM’s biggest training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. An intense aerial confrontation ensued between both countries the next day, in which IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan. His release on Friday capped a week of uncertainty and war-mongering on both sides.

India had this week also handed over a dossier to Pakistan reportedly detailing the role of the JeM in plotting and carrying out the Pulwama attack, daring Pakistan PM Imran Khan to walk the talk on acting against terror.
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