In a comedy of errors, the Indian media in its usual rhetoric to blame Pakistan for the Pulwama attack linked late Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rasheed Ghazi to the February 14 suicide bombing which killed 44 paramilitary forces.
It’s important to note that, Rasheed was killed in 2007 during the Lal Masjid operation launched by then president Pervez Musharraf.
Rasheed with with his brother Abdul Aziz used to run the Lal Masjid in Islamabad and the adjoining Jamia Hafsa seminary.
The Indian media, however, mistook Rasheed for Lal Masjid’s Ghazi Rasheed.
According to Indian media’s claim Rasheed is a close associate of Masood Azhar and one of his most trusted Jaish commanders, who joined the outfit in 2008. The 32-year-old was allegedly trained by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Media reports also claimed that Rasheed commands all Jaish operations in India and is believed to be hiding in south Kashmir.
The security forces have started a major hunt for Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, the main conspirator in the Pulwama attack, IndiaTV News reported.
The attack — around 20 kilometres from the city of Srinagar on the main highway to Jammu — apparently claimed by the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was the worst in Indian-occupied Kashmir in three decades.
India was quick to blame Pakistan even before their investigators reached the site to start probe. The Pakistani high commissioner was summoned by the Indian foreign secretary to issue a formal protest over the attack.
Islamabad, however, rejected the Indian baseless allegations and insisted that it always condemned ‘heightened violence’ in the valley.
India’s acting high commissioner was called to the foreign office to convey Pakistan’s strong protest over the Modi government’s attempts to link Islamabad with the Pulwama attack.
Reacting on the Indian media’s gaffe, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari wrote on Twitter, saying: “Indian media really needs to do some fact checking even when they are indulging in blame game propaganda.”
On February 14, a suicide car bomber rammed a bus carrying troopers belonging to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the deadliest attack on Indian occupying forces there since 2002.
According to Reuters’ report, Adil Ahmad Dar, 20, from the village of Lethipora in occupied Kashmir, rammed a car full of explosives into the convoy.
“We are in pain in the same way the families of the soldiers are,” said farmer Ghulam Hassan Dar, adding that his son had been radicalised after police stopped him and his friends on the way home from school in 2016.
“They were stopped by the [Indian] troops and beaten up and harassed,” Dar said, adding that the students were accused of stone-pelting. “Since then, he wanted to join the militants.”