One of the reports on Sunday claimed that Azhar, who was allegedly injured in last week’s Indian air strike on a terrorist training camp at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, died on 2 March. Another news report claimed that he was suffering from liver cancer and died of it. Over the last many months, there have been reports claiming that Azhar was suffering from renal failure. A few recent reports had also claimed that he had undergone dialysis.
The development comes days after Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told CNN in an interview that Azhar was living in Pakistan but was “very unwell". However, two people familiar with the development, requesting anonymity, said such reports were “misleading".
According to the first report, the JeM chief, along with a top-ranked officer from the Inter- Services Intelligence, or ISI, were among those who were injured in the Indian Air Force strike on the Balakot camp. The area was immediately cordoned off by the Pakistan army, and the two were rushed to an army hospital, where the ISI official was declared brought dead. The Pakistani government has not issued any official statement on Masood Azhar.