New Delhi: In recent reports citing Indian intelligence officials, it has been found that Masood Azhar – the chief of the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) – has been struggling with a life-threatening condition. Owing to which, the proscribed Deobandi outfit is now operationally divided between his two younger brothers, Rauf Asghar and Athar Ibrahim, who continue to carry out jihadist attacks on India and Afghanistan.
As per officials, the 50-year-old militant is suffering ailments that have affected his spinal cord and kidney.
The anonymous officials quoted in media reports said Azhar is believed to have been treated for his spinal cord and renal condition at the Combined Military Hospital in Rawalpindi, and that the jihadist leader has been bedridden for at least a year and a half.
As per a media report, there is no official confirmation about Azhar’s illness. However, it states that the terrorist leader, whose designation by UN as global terrorist (a move sponsored by India) was blocked by China, has not been sighted in public either in his hometown Bhawalpur or anywhere else in Pakistan.
“There is no need to India to give concessions to Beijing over designation of Azhar as global terrorist as the terrorist has been struck with debilitating illness,” said a senior counter-terrorism official was quoted as saying by HT.
Who is Masood Azhar?
- A dreaded Islamist, Indian officials hold Azhar responsible for a string of suicide terror attacks on Indian soil including the 2001 attack on Parliament, the 2005 attack in Ayodhya and the 2016 attack on Pathankot airbase.
- Though these attacks were partially successful, they were aimed to either force India to initiate armed hostilities against Pakistan or cause communal conflagration in India.
- Azhar was freed by India and transported to Kandahar in exchange for hijacked passengers of IC-814 in 1999; that hijacking was supported by the then Taliban and al- Qaeda chiefs and the ISI.
- The 814 hijacking was carried out by Athar Ibrahim, who is now handling terror strikes in Afghanistan and Baluchistan from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, according to officials.