Several Indin TV channels on Sunday claimed that Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar had died. The news has not yet been confirmed by Pakistani authorities.
Pakistani media termed the Indian media’s report false that Azhar, who has reportedly been suffering from spinal cancer and was being treated in a Pakistani military hospital for some time, had died.
Quoting unnamed sources close to the family of the JeM chief, Geo News said that the was ‘live.’
Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance-owned News18 was first to break the news claiming that the Jaish chief died on Saturday. Following News18 were Times Now and India Today as both flashed the story with a question mark. Their near identical headline said, “Is Masood Azhar dead?”
#BREAKING: Reports suggest Maulana Masood Azhar is dead, he died on March 2. To be formally announced after intimation from Army hospital, Islamabad: Top Intel Sources. Input: @manojkumargupta, @Zakka_Jacob with more details
CNN-News18 is trying to independently verify the news pic.twitter.com/ntFVMBPvFF
— News18 (@CNNnews18) March 3, 2019
Nobody knows where the news first came from. Be careful, this may just be a rumour planted by Pakistanis to give India a fake closure. #MasoodAzharDEAD
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) March 3, 2019
Top Govt sources in Pakistan refuse to confirm reports that #MasoodAzharDEAD . Claim he has been on daily dialysis. No formal statement yet. More news updates when they come..
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) March 3, 2019
In no time, hashtag #MasoodAzharDEAD and Maulana Masood Azhar became top trends on Twitter. Azhar has been on list India’s most wanted people ever since the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had allowed its cabinet colleague Yashwant Sinha and Ajit Doval to escort him out of the Indian jail to free the Indian passengers from the IC-814 plane, hijacked and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Jaish had released a video of its suicide bomber while claiming responsibility for the the 14 February Pulwama terror attack that killed 45 CRPF sodliers. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had recently said that Azhar was so unwell that he could not even leave his house. Later, it emerged that he was being treated at a military hospital.