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Intense speculation on the condition of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar was running rife on social media with some reports saying that he was killed in the February 26 cross-LoC bombing in Balakot, but there was no confirmation from any authoritative source.
The hashtag #MasoodAzharDead was doing the rounds on Twitter. Many on Twitter claimed the Jaish chief was badly injured in the Balakot bombing, and had died in hospital, and that the Pakistan government was soon to announce that he had died a natural death.
Amid growing pressure to show the damage caused by IAF's precision bombing on the Jaish-e-Mohammad training facility in Balakot, India is contemplating releasing evidence in the days to come to silence those doubting the impact.
The IAF had declared that disclosing proof of the air strike impact was a call to be taken by the government even though electronic evidence gathered by radar images was sufficient to establish the damage caused to the structures.
Though there was no credible confirmation about the number of casualties, and the Pakistani establishment was in denial mode, a video clip of Masood Azhar's brother Maulana Ummar surfaced on Saturday where he can be heard accepting that the Balakot camp had taken a hit. The recording is said to be from a public function organized in Peshawar after the air strike.
Unconfirmed reports coming out of Pakistan suggest doctors have given Masood Azhar barely 2-3 days more. On ventilator, critically wounded. pic.twitter.com/Mk0n8rBise— GiniKhan (@ginikhan2) March 3, 2019
It's confirmed but not official yet; Masood Azhar is dead. Pakistan's government to claim that he died a natural death however sources confirm that he was seriously injured during the air strikes.— Karan Bhasin (@karanbhasin95) March 3, 2019
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has acknowledged on television that Masood Azhar was in Pakistan and that he was very unwell.
Qureshi in an interview to CNN said: "He (Masood Azhar) is in Pakistan. According to my information, he is very unwell. He's unwell to the extent that he cannot leave his house because he is really unwell. So, that's the information I have."
Another report from Islamabad said the JeM founder was undergoing dialysis in an army hospital in Rawalpindi in Pakistan.
Some reports claimed that after getting seriously injured in the air strike, Masood Azhar died in a hospital.
(With inputs from IANS)
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