Masood Azhar afflicted with renal failure, undergoes regular dialysis at Pakistan Army hospital, say Indian officials
New Delhi: Masood Azhar, the founder of the dreaded terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), is suspected to be afflicted with renal failure and is under regular dialysis at an army hospital in Rawalpindi in Pakistan, officials said in New Delhi on Saturday.
This suggestion of security officials came after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the JeM chief is “unwell”.
“Recent reports indicate that Masood Azhar is now afflicted with renal failure and is under treatment and regular dialysis at the army hospital in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistan Army,” a senior security official said.
Qureshi said Thursday: “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”.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad chief was a close associate of Osama bin Laden, terror motivator in several African countries and also known by many as the Pakistani cleric who brought jihad into the religious discourse at mosques in the UK, the official said.
The influence of the 50-year-old terrorist mastermind was so huge that, when he was released by India in exchange for freeing the hijacked Indian Airlines aircraft IC-814 on 31 December, 1999, in Kandahar, Laden hosted a banquet for him the same night. In the banquet, Laden recalled how he and Azhar had first worked together in 1993, the official said.
Azhar was arrested for preaching jihad in Jammu and Kashmir in 1994. One of his British recruits, Omar Shaikh, as a member of the terrorist group Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), kidnapped four western tourists in India in 1994 in order to secure the release of Azhar. However, security agencies succeeded in releasing the hostages and arresting Shaikh.
In 1979-1989, after he suffered injuries in the Soviet-Afghan War, he was chosen as the head of Harkat-ul-Ansar’s department of motivation.
Azhar made contacts in Britain with people who helped to provide training and logistical support for terrorist plots.
In January 1993, Azhar visited Bangladesh along with Sajjad Afghani, a terrorist leader to facilitate the intrusion of Afghani to India.
Azhar was part of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen or Harkat-ul-Ansar, when he was arrested in 1994 in India for spreading hate. Azhar formed Jaish-e-Mohammad after his release in 1999 when Indian Airlines flight IC 814 was hijacked and taken to Kandahar. Since then, the JeM has been involved in terror attacks in the country. The terror group was responsible for the attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 in which nine security personnel and officials were killed.
On 2 January, 2016, a heavily armed group of JeM attacked the Pathankot airbase in which seven security personnel were killed. The JeM also carried out the attack on Uri brigade headquarters on 18 September, 2016, killing 17 soldiers and injuring 30 others. On 14 February this year, the JeM carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF bus in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir killing at least 40 jawans.