Masood Azhar not missing, holed up near Bahawalpur headquarters: Reports
Before the terror-watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) could take a decision on blacklisting Pakistan, Islamabad informed that wanted terrorist Masood Azhar, who is the head of the proscribed organization Jaish-e-Mohammed, has gone missing. This claim was contested by Indian intelligence agencies which said the UN-designated terrorist is living near Jaish's Bahawalpur headquarters at Markaz-e-Usman-o-Ali, Railway Link Road, reports HT.
Azhar's Jaish is responsible for dastardly Pulwama attack
On February 14, 2019, a car laced with explosives rammed into CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir, making it one the deadliest attacks on armed forces in decades. The attack was orchestrated by Jaish, that has been waging a war against India since it was founded in 1998 by Azhar. After the attack, New Delhi handed multiple proofs to Pakistan regarding Azhar's involvement.
Pakistan claimed Azhar is missing, India didn't agree
That Pakistan has supported terrorism on its soil got it grey-listed by FATF and a downgrade to the black one would hurt the country's cash-strapped economy. Before the plenary meet of FATF, Pakistan's economic affairs minister Hammad Azhar said Azhar and his family "went missing". Pakistan said the terrorist couldn't be booked as he wasn't "found". Now, India plans to expose Pakistan's lies.
Azhar is living in a "bomb-proof" house
Reportedly, Azhar is "safe" inside a bomb-proof house behind the Bahawalpur headquarters of Jaish. Azhar juggles between three addresses, namely Kausar Colony, Bahawalpur; Madarassa Bilal Habshi, Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; and Madrassa Masjid-e-Luqman, Lakki Marwat. He is apparently visiting his houses at Bahawalpur and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa frequently.
Last year, Pakistan claimed Azhar wasn't keeping well
Last year, when India handed over a dossier to Pakistan highlighting Azhar's involvement with the Pulwama attack, the latter's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi attempted to defend him. Qureshi claimed Azhar was "very ill" and couldn't even step out of his house. Meanwhile, his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar Alvi has taken charge as the de-facto ruler of the terrorist organization, he claimed.
FATF noted that terror groups raise funds illegally
As Pakistan is worried about what action FATF might take, the body on Monday said terrorist groups benefit from funds raised through illicit activities, despite its strict actions. The terrorist groups also have supporters worldwide that give them money, FATF claimed. The global body also said terror groups use social media to gain followers and claimed that those sympathetic to humanitarian causes were targeted.
Tightening standards haven't yielded results: FATF
"The FATF has tightened its standards on terrorist financing which have helped disrupt access to funds for groups such as ISIL and Al-Qaeda. However, various groups still benefit from funds raised through illegal activity and from supporters worldwide," FATF said on Monday.