NIA awaits Pak response on Azhar’s interrogation

RSTV Bureau
Photo - PTI

Photo – PTI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is awaiting a response from Pakistan on Letters Rogatory seeking information and interrogation of Maulana Masood Azhar, alleged mastermind of dastardly Pathankot terror attack early this year. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother Abdul Rauf were quizzed by Pakistan authorities in connection with the Pathankot attack along with several others.

NIA Director General Sharad Kumar said that the role of the Jaish chief and his brother, besides two other handlers, has been established and all the evidence have been shared with Pakistan.

“We are still awaiting a response from them,” he said, adding two Letters Rogatories and several reminders to Islamabad remain unanswered.

Asked whether NIA has given a clean chit to Pakistani agencies, including ISI, in the matter, Kumar said “the case is still under investigations”. He also denied media reports that quoted him as saying that a clean chit has been given to Pakistani agencies in the Pathankot attack case.

“We have not given any clean chit to anyone. We are examining the role of other players which include state actors” the NIA chief said, refusing to elaborate on the “state actors”.

India identified JeM founder-in-chief Maulana Masood Azhar as the mastermind of the January 2 terror attack on Pathankot air base. Seven security personnel, including a Lt Col. rank NSG officer, were killed as they eliminated six terrorists in a near three day intermittent gun battle.

The Government of India has also blamed Masood’s brother Rauf and five others for carrying out the attack.

Soon after the JeM link to Pathankot terror attack became clear, India demanded firm action on part of Pakistan with Prime Minister Modi firmly conveying it to his Pakistan counterpart after the latter had called up at the time of terror attack.

A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan had visited Pathankot in March and held extensive meeting with the NIA over the probe.

(With inputs from the PTI)