An anonymous blog post claimed that Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, who had been reportedly injured when India launched air strikes at terror training camps at Balakot on February 27, died, triggering intense speculation on Sunday. However, JeM dismissed the rumours and released a statement saying Azhar was alive and doing well. 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. A resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan's Punjab province, Azhar formed the Jaish-e-Mohammed in 2000. The 50-year-old Azhar, who was released by the NDA government in 1999 in exchange of hostages of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814, has been accused of being the mastermind of the 2001 Parliament attack, suicide attack on Jammu and Kashmir state assembly, attack on Pathankot IAF base and the latest Pulwama terror strike.
Meanwhile, an audio message issued by a senior leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed appears to confirm that Indian jets hit the militant training camp run by the Pakistan-based outfit in Balakot and inflicted significant damage, one of the clearest contradictions yet to Islamabad’s version that the Indian operation hit only a patch of trees.
The message bears the voice of Maulana Ammar, who has been identified as the brother of JeM founder Masood Azhar. It was first tweeted out by a Pakistani journalist who lives in France and has been verified by Indian security agencies, officials said.