In a shocking development, Pakistani terrorist Masood Azhar and his family have been reported missing on Sunday, ahead of the beginning of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meet. Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain stated that Azhar having gone missing from the custody of the Pakistani Army raised questions on Pakistan's policy towards the banned outfit. Currently, Pakistan is hoping to avoid being blacklisted at the FATF plenary meet.
Azhar - the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief, was the mastermind behind the dreaded Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, which killed 40 CRPF personnel and the attacker. While the main conspirators of the module have since then been terminated by the Army, Azhar has reportedly been taken into custody by Pakistan. But intel sources state that Azhar had been secretly freed by Pakistan early in September, despite facing the heat of FATF.
On 1 March 2019, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mehmood Qureshi had inadvertently admitted that Masood Azhar was in Pakistan but is 'unwell'. He even admitted that the Pakistani administration is in contact with the UN-designated terrorist. Azhar, who was initially placed under house arrest in Pakistan after the 2001 parliament attack, but was freed later. While Pakistan claimed that he was arrested after the 26/11 attacks, his last known location was Markaz Subhan Allah, Bahawalpur.
Ahead of the FATF plenary meet, on February 12, the 26/11 mastermind, Hafiz Saeed was convicted under ATA Section 11-F (2) and 11-N. Additionally, he has been slapped with a fine of Rs15,000 in each case. This came even after the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore accepted his plea to club all the pending cases against him and then announce the verdict. The 26/11 mastermind and UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed had also pleaded "not guilty."
Pakistan which is already placed in the greylist by FATF- a Paris-based global terror-financing watchdog, is looking to avoid the blacklist. In an attempt to show 'action' on terrorism, it has convicted Saeed, who may be released post-FATF meet as per reports. Pakistan is courting to Turkey, China and Malaysia to seek their support by fearmongering over Kashmir and revocation od Article 370.