Thursday, January 14, 2016

Confusion over Masood's arrest and FS level talk

The confusion still persists on the foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan , which was scheduled to be held on Jan 15 in Islamabad and the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar in Pak in the light of attack on Pathankot air base after the evidence was submitted by India about his being its mastermind . According to the Pak media report JeM Chief Masood Azhar, his brother Mohammad Rouf and ten other militants of the outfit apprehended for their involvement in Pathankot air base attack, though it is yet to be confirmed by Pak govt. Though the govt. of India spoke in different voices, the ministry of foreign affairs issued statement saying clearly that to start the foreign secretary level talks, Pakistan has to take decisive and prompt action against all those who are involved in the Pathankot attack and their handlers , who operated from its soil. It also appears altogether baffling that despite the arrest of Masood Azjhar and 10 others and sealing of his outfits in different cities of Pakistan, no confirmation has been given to India. Pakistan media are circulating the news of arrest, but govt. is silent on it. Now it appears clear that the foreign secretary level talk, where was to be held on Jan 15, is to be deferred and it would be rescheduled later. The prompt and sincere action shown by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif against India's most wanted terrorist based in Pakistan for masterminding the Pathankot air base attack itself reflects the working of international pressure on Pak to act against the perpetrators of Pathankot attack. It also goes to the credit of Sharif that he brought Army and ISI Chiefs on the same page against the militants involved in the attack. The developing atmosphere all around the world is against terrorism. The international pressure, especially of America, is on Pakistan to act against the militants and their handlers operating from its soil in the attack on Pathankot air base. This is also not for the first time that Masood Azhar has been detained. After the attack on Parliament in 2001, he was also taken into custody, though the case against him did not stand in law court and he was freed very quickly. Ajhar Masood was first arrested in 1994 in Jammu and Kashmir, but had to be released from jail in 1998 in exchange for the freedom of the passengers of IC 814, which was hijacked from Kathmandu and taken to Kandhar in Afghanistan. So, it is difficult for India to have faith in the Pak media report that Masood Azhar was arrested. And it is because of the confusion that India with mutual consent reportedly decided to reschedule the foreign secretary level talk. The foreign office has said that India and Pakistan are in contact to decide on the dates for the meeting of the two foreign secretaries. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the spokesperson of Pakistan's foreign ministry said this issue was discussed in a high level meet. Refusing to confirm the arrest of Maulana Masood Azhar, Pakistan Foreign office spokesperson also said that he was not aware of the arrest of the leader of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed.A series of meetings were held between Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar in New Delhi late on Wednesday evening. These discussions will be taken forward, and official word is expected later today after National security advisor Ajit Doval and other senior officials brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the developments so far.The briefing is expected at around 4 pm.

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