SRINAGAR – The rebel commander, at the heart of Kashmir crisis, Masood Azhar has denied having prior knowledge of the deadly Pulwama attack as he was writing a book when he heard the news.

The chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed also absolved Pakistan of blame for the Feb 14 attack, which left more than 40 CRPF soldiers dead and dozens other injured.

In an audio of his weekly address, the JeM head said that Kashmiri freedom struggle doesn’t need any foreign support. “The attacker was a Kashmiri and it happened near Srinagar, not near the border of Pakistan.”

He justified the attack by saying that no civilian was killed in the bombing that was solely aimed to target the occupational forces in the Indian held-Kashmir. This is the reason world bodies did not condemn the attack since no civilian was killed in the attack.

“As usual India is crying all over the world, despite the fact that Pulwama attack was carried out by a Kashmiri on murderous India. But this time it didn’t work,” he said adding that even the Donald Trump didn’t mention it or condemn it. “[The] European Union also didn’t put forth any statement on it and Chinese media didn’t report it,” he said in the audio.

Declaring that his group of Kashmiri fighters doesn’t want to drag Pakistan into this war against India’s brute forces, Azhar asked Islamabad “not to succumb to the pressure” from New Delhi.

He also expressed his disappointment over Pakistan’s response to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s threats following the Pulwama attack, terming it “rather lukewarm and lackluster”.

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In the message, Azhar said that the attack is an answer to the claims that militancy in valley has been wiped out from Kashmir. “Some people are saying this attack will help Narendra Modi in his election campaign. This is not true.

“People who think so don’t understand India’s politics nor are they aware of the Hindu mindset. This has sent his popularity to the graveyard. He was making hullaballoo about the elimination of militant ranks by operation all-out. So how did this attack happen?” Azhar said.

He went on to claim that the Pulwama attacks had instead exposed the Modi government’s claims that ‘Operation All Out’ against terrorists in J&K was a success and that terrorists were on the defensive.

“Modi will go further backwards, if our leaders do not succumb to the pressure. But if we come under the pressure of Modi and accepts some of his demands, it can help him regain his position,” Azhar said.

Azhar can be also heard making fun of Indian media saying he laughed his heart out on their coverage, especially about blocking the tomato trade to Pakistan.

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He congratulated Kashmiris saying that their voice had been heard. “Had Adil Ahmed Dar been killed by an Indian bullet or been blinded by pallets fired at a peaceful rally in the held-valley, nobody would have sympathized with his family,” Azhar said, adding that now every mother in IoK is wishing her son embrace martyrdom like the young Kashmiri who targetted the Indian paramilitary convoy last week.

The JeM chief himself wished to have met Dar, further clarifying that he never had any contact with the separatist in his life.

Based in Occupied Kashmir, JeM is one of several terrorist groups which are officially outlawed in both Pakistan and India.