Taking a complete U-turn, the Pakistan government yesterday dismissed its own claim of taking over the control of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) headquarters in Bahawalpur and said the complex has no link with the terror outfit, which claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir.
Rejecting their earlier statement, they now termed the complex a "madrassah".
Bahawalpur's Madrassatul Sabir, Jamia-e-Masjid Subhanallah under Punjab government: Pak min
In a video message on social media, Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the Punjab government took administrative control of Madrassatul Sabir and Jamia-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur in line with the decisions taken during the National Security Council meeting held on Thursday and as part of the National Action Plan.
He also rejected his earlier announcement that the complex was JeM headquarters.
'This is madrassah, India doing propaganda that it's JeM headquarters'
Chaudhry said, "This is the madrassah (seminary) and India is doing propaganda that it is the JeM headquarters." On Friday, the minister had said that the Punjab government has "taken over the control of the JeM headquarters in Bahawalpur", about 400 km from Lahore.
First time in years, Pakistan acknowledged the JeM headquarters
"The government of Punjab has taken over the control of a campus comprising Madressatul Sabir and Jama-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, allegedly the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad, and appointed an administrator to manage its affairs," Chaudhry had said.
This was the first time in years that the campus had been acknowledged by Pakistan to be the headquarters of the terror outfit JeM led by Masood Azhar.
Islamic seminaries in campus have 70 teachers, 600 students: Ministry
A statement issued by the Interior Ministry on Friday said the crackdown on Jaish "has been taken in line with the decision of the meeting held Thursday under the chairmanship of PM Imran Khan".
The Islamic seminaries in the campus have a faculty of 70 teachers and currently, 600 students are studying in it.
Punjab police is providing protection to the campus, it said.
Pakistan-govt even took journalists to campus to prove their claim
Meanwhile, The Pakistani government on Saturday took a group of local journalists to the campus in Bahawalpur and claimed that it is a "routine seminary having no link with JeM".
Bahawalpur Deputy Commissioner Shahzaib Saeed accompanied the group of journalists to the campus showing "business as usual" there.
The commissioner denied association of the seminary and the mosque with Masood Azhar.
When asked about JeM, students showed complete ignorance: Journalist
"Some 600 students are studying here and none of them is associated with any banned organization or involved in any terror activity," said Saeed.
A local journalist, who visited the seminary and spoke to some students and teachers there, said, "When asked about the JeM and Masood Azhar, they showed complete ignorance about them.
"Perhaps they were briefed before our visit," said the journalist.