Pakistan Army killed Pulwama terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar on June 23? Pakistan Army killed Pulwama terror attack mastermind and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) founder Masood Azhar on June 23, 2019, Italian journalist Francesca Marino claimed on Thursday. On June 23, a massive blast had rocked the Pak Emirates Military Hospital in Rawalpindi where Masood Azhar was under regular dialysis as he was afflicted with renal failure. As many as 10 people were injured in the blast that rocked the military hospital, Ahsan Ullah MiaKhail, a human rights activist from Quetta, had said.  Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also said that Azhar was unwell to the extent that he was unable to leave his house.

Soon after the blast, Pakistan Army personnel surrounded the hospital and barred the media from covering the incident. The reason behind the blast hasn’t been made public so far. In May 2019, Francesca Marino had also claimed that up to 170 JeM terrorists were killed in a pre-dawn airstrike carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 26 in Pakistan’s Balakot.

Masood Azhar, who was born in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur (in Punjab province) on July 10, 1968, was listed as an international terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Azhar was a known associate of Al-Qaeda chief Osma Bin Laden and worked as a motivator in various African countries to promote jihad. He was the sole person who brought jihad into the religious discourse at mosques in the UK. Azhar was arrested for preaching jihad in Jammu and Kashmir in 1994.

After the 9/11 terror attack, the JeM played a key role in bringing fighters and their families from Afghanistan into safe havens in Pakistan, run by Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Pakistan has always protected Azhar. Reports said, the global terrorist was moved from Bahawalpur to Peshawar on February 5, 2019, nine days before Pulwama terror attack. He held an open rally there. The news of Azhar’s death could be a Pakistani ploy to hoodwink the global community. Right now, Pakistan needs global assistance to escape the current financial crisis and promoting terrorism could spell trouble for the country when the sword of FATF is hanging over its head.

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