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    Demonstrators step on the posters of Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad which claimed attack on a bus that killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in south Kashmir on Thursday, during a protest in Mumbai, India, February 15, 2019

    Pakistan Changes Story on Jaish-e-Mohammed Militant Group

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    Contradicting earlier official statements on the whereabouts of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Pakistan's military spokesman now claims that the group does not exist in the country. However, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, in an interview on Wednesday, alleged that JeM had attempted to assassinate him twice.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, banned as a terror group in India, has become an Achilles heel for the Pakistani government.

    In a major development, Pakistan's military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor has denied the existence of Jaish-e-Mohammed on Pakistani soil, saying that the outfit has no footprint in the country.

    "Jaish-e-Mohammed does not exist in Pakistan. It has been proscribed by the UN and Pakistan also. Secondly, we are not doing anything under anybody's pressure," Major General Asif Ghafoor said in an interview with CNN.

    He asserted that the Jaish-e-Mohammed's claim of responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack was not made from inside Pakistan.

    In contrast, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi last week had told BBC that Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar Masood was in Pakistan and was not well. Qureshi had also admitted that the Pakistani establishment was in touch with Azhar.

    On Wednesday, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, in an interview given to a Pakistani journalist, acknowledged that Jaish-e-Mohammed was a terror organisation based out of Pakistan and that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI had used it to carry out attacks in India during his tenure. He also said that JeM had initiated failed assassination attempts against him twice.

    It is being understood by politico-defense strategists that the present flip-flop by the Pakistani establishment was done under pressure from the Jaish leadership.

    Jaish leadership is not happy with the Pakistani establishment's crackdown on the terror outfit under international pressure, sources within Pakistan government told Sputnik.

    "In fact, the present statement by Pakistani Military Spokesperson Major General Ghafoor denying the very existence of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan has been made under pressure from the Jaish leadership. It's a known fact that Pakistani Army and ISI had been using JeM and other terror outfits in the proxy war against India," Major General (Rtd) A K Siwach, a former Indian Army Officer told Sputnik.

    "I came to know that even Jaish leadership has threatened to expose Pakistani Army and ISI if they do not provide safe havens to Jaish and its leaders," Major General (Rtd) Siwach added.

    Meanwhile, Chinese vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou has met Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an unscheduled meet.

    The visit is said to be crucial ahead of the UN's listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Earlier, on all occasions, China had thwarted attempts in United Nations Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.

    Masood Azhar is the chief of JeM, a terror outfit that claimed responsibility for the recent terror attack at Pulwama, in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February in which more than 40 Indian paramilitary forces were killed, leading to a serious conflagration, including aerial attacks and cross border shelling, between India and Pakistan.

    Related:

    Terror Mastermind Masood Azhar Moved Out of Pakistan Army Hospital – Reports
    India Unhappy With Pakistan's Decision Not to Ban Masood Azhar - Source
    Indian Probe Agency to Designate Masood Azhar and Co. as Proclaimed Offenders
    Pakistan Arrests Dozens of Militants, Including Key Members of Jaish-e-Mohammed
    Tags:
    conflicting reports, terror group, denial, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Pakistani Army, Masood Azhar, India, Pakistan
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