Pak elusive on JeM chief after FS talks are deferred

RSTV Bureau
Pathankot: Security personnel during their operation against the militants who attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on Sunday, January 3, 2015. Photo - PTI

Pathankot: Security personnel during their operation against the militants who attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on Sunday, January 3, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Making an announcement over the rescheduling of the Foreign secretary level talks, Pakistan’s foreign ministry refused to confirm the arrest or detention or any legal action against Jaish-e-Mohammad founder-in-chief Maulana Masood Azhar, the alleged mastermind of Pathankot terror attack on January 1, 2016.

Announcing that the FS-level talks will not take place as planned, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah also ruled out any information on action against Masood Azhar.

“I am not aware of any such arrest. I don’t have anything else apart from the statement issued by the PMO yesterday,” he said adding that both sides were holding consultations to reschedule the talks.

In a day of dramatic events, Pakistan press reported late Wednesday evening the detention of JeM founder-chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother. However, there was no official confirmation over it, with External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup briefing the press in New Delhi that “India has received no confirmation of the detention of Azhar”.

Early on Wednesday, Pakistan agencies detained several individuals belonging to terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhhamed, which is alleged to be behind dastardly terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase on January 1. Some of JeM’s offices were also sealed, claimed Pakistan in a statement released by its Prime Minister’s Office.

The action from Pakistan was reported after its PM Nawaz Sharif summoned a high-level meeting to review the situation with the shadow looming over the fate of FS-level talks.

FILE: File photo of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.  Photo - PTI

FILE: File photo of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
Photo – PTI

“In the spirit of the cooperative approach, it was also decided that in order to carry the process forward, additional information would be required, for which the Government of Pakistan is considering to send a Special Investigation Team to Pathankot, in consultation with the Government of India,” the statement released by Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s on Wednesday office read.

As per the schedule chalked out earlier, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is slated to go to Islamabad on Friday for talks with his counterpart on resuming the Indo-Pak dialogue process.

Meanwhile, in a statement released by its PM’s office on Wednesday, the Pakistan establishment claimed a commitment of not allowing its territory to be used by terrorists.

“The meeting noted with satisfaction that as part of Pakistan’s commitment to eliminate terrorism from our soil and the expressed national resolve not to allow our territory to be used for acts of terrorism anywhere, considerable progress has been made in the investigations being carried out against terrorist elements reportedly linked to the Pathankot incident,” read the statement issued by Pak Prime Minister’s office.

(With inputs from the Agencies)