India called on Pakistan to withdraw from territories it occupies within India and to cease cross-border terrorism.
Amid heightened tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad, UN-designated global terrorist and Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar has been reportedly released secretly from Pakistan jail.
Azhar, according to government sources quoted by NDTV, was last located at the Jaish headquarters Markaz Subhanallah in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur.
According to reports, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has alerted the government about the deployment of additional Pakistani troopers along the border near Rajasthan and said Islamabad has released Masood Azhar to “carry out terror attacks”.
The reports come as India recently declared JeM chief Masood Azhar, Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, LeT’s supreme commander of operations in Kashmir Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim are terrorists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act.
In a huge diplomatic win for India, the United Nations had on May 1 designated Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist the Pakistan-based Jaish chief, a decade after New Delhi approached the world body for the first time on the issue.
Following the UN move, Pakistan had issued an official order to freeze the assets and impose travel ban on Azhar.
Azhar was responsible for the Pulwama attack in February as well as the 2001 attack on Parliament.
Earlier on Saturday, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had said that more than 200 terrorists were trying to cross into India from Pakistan and Islamabad was trying to stoke violence in the region.
Meanwhile, Indian Army and intelligence sources, quoting the confessions of two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists captured recently in Jammu and Kashmir, have said that around 300 trained militants are prepared to enter Indian territory from Pakistan.
Pakistan has also moved a brigade-sized force of around 2,000 soldiers to a location within 30 km of the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Indian Army sources said on Thursday.
The move by the Pakistan Army assumes significance in light of the fact that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has threatened in the recent past of a war-like situation developing between the two countries after India withdrew special status for Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
Earlier in August, a huge security alert was sounded in Gujarat after receiving intelligence inputs of “Pakistani commandos likely to infiltrate into the Indian territory through Kutchh area, through sea route to carry out terrorist attacks in Gujarat”.
On August 14, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had termed India’s move to revoke special status to Jammu and Kashmir a “strategic blunder” and said that the move will cost New Delhi “heavily”.
A day after the Indian government abrogated Article 370, Khan had warned of “Pulwama-like incidents to happen again”.