While Pakistan's Prime Minister Shebaz Shariff chose to not comment when asked about Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday said that the JeM chief is in Afghanistan. The minister's statement comes days after the Taliban denied his presence in Afghanistan.
Masood Azhar is a globally designated terrorist who founded terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad and is responsible for scripting multiple terror attacks in India.
According to India Today report, Zardari said that Azhar no longer remains an issue only between India and Pakistan. He has become a trilateral issue among India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said.
On Wednesday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid firmly rejected Pakistani media reports about the presence of Masood Azhar in the country, saying such terrorist organisations can operate on Pakistan’s soil and even under official patronage.
Pakistan had also sent a letter to the Taliban government with a demand to hand Masood Azhar over to Islamabad.
Bilawal Bhutto who is in Samarkand to connection with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, said that Pakistan wants to fight terrorism and extremism and this is a priority not due to FATF listing or the international community but for the people of his country.
Pakistan has been on (Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list since 2018. Pakistan's record on the flow of funds into terrorist activities has been under sustained scrutiny by FATF.
The FATF-Asia Pacific Group delegation visited Pakistan from August 29 to September 2 to verify the country's compliance with a 34-point action plan committed with FATF at the highest level.
Uzbekistan is the current chair of SCO 2022 whereas India will be the next chair of the SCO.
This is the first in-person SCO Summit after the Covid pandemic hit the world. The last in-person SCO Heads of State Summit was held in Bishkek in June 2019.