On February 16, India Today led an open-source investigation that showed Masood Azhar received the same military protection in Pakistan's Punjab province as Osama bin Laden did in the military town of Abbottabad. (File photo: Reuters)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar has been shifted to a safe hideout in Pakistan's Bahawalpur, sources said.
This is the latest development in the aftermath of the dastardly Pulwama terror attack.
"Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is shifting leaders of terror groups to safe zones after India raised demands of a strong action against them. In line with this, Masood Azhar was shifted from Rawalpindi to Kotghani near Bahawalpur on February 17 or 18. Security has also been tightened to protect him," intel sources told India Today TV.
In one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir's three decades of militancy, a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus in Pulwama district on February 14, killing over 40 personnel and leaving many critically wounded.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based group of militant Islamic extremists, claimed responsibility for the terror attack.
Pakistan strongly rejected Indian media and government's allegations of the country's link to the terror attack "without" probe, even as the entire world condemned Islamabad for providing safe havens to terror groups.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also urged his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to "give peace a chance". Imran Khan said Pakistan would "immediately act" if India provided "actionable intelligence" on the Pulwama terror attack.
Earlier on February 19 also, Imran Khan had assured India he would act against the perpetrators of the attack, if New Delhi shared "actionable intelligence" with Islamabad, but warned against launching any "revenge" retaliatory action.
On February 16, India Today led an open-source investigation that showed Masood Azhar received the same military protection in Pakistan's Punjab province as Osama bin Laden did in the military town of Abbottabad.
India Today's open-source intelligence team pin-pointed the Jaish den in Bahawalpur, the 12th largest city of Pakistan's Punjab. The probe showed Masood Azhar's headquarters minutes away from the army cantonment in the area.
Imran Khan, however, refuted all reports, saying they were not proof enough of Azhar's presence.
Meanwhile, sources also told India Today that Azhar has been moving around in Pakistan with a heavy security blanket of the ISI and his own militia.
Azhar is also said to have met Hizb-ul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin to discuss the plan of action in wake of the Pulwama attack and the developments thereafter.-IT