Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary talks hang in balance

NAYANIMA BASU New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018

The Air Force base in Pathankot (file photo). Pakistani terrorist outfit JeMis believed to have carried out the attack on the camp on January 2

Pakistan cracks whip on terror outfit JeM

Uncertainty continued over the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting on the issue.

The meeting, which took place at the PM’s residence, was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other senior officials.

At the time of going to press, no final decision had been taken as the meeting continued into the night.

An official confirmation from the Ministry of External Affairs is expected on Thursday.

JeM chief detained

In a parallel development, Pakistan cracked the whip on terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), detaining its chief Masood Azhar and his associates.

The Pakistani government pulled out all stops to assure India that it is taking “prompt and decisive” action against the terrorists as was vowed by Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif during his phone call to Modi on January 5.

In a major crackdown, Pakistan detained JeM chief Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf, brother-in-law Ashfaq Ahmed and 12 other. It had also raided all the offices of JeM in Bahawalpur, Multan and Gujranwala.

JeM is believed to have carried out the terrorist attack in Pathankot on January 2.

On Wednesday, the Pakistan PM also held a high-level meeting, his third in the last one week, on the issue of “countering and completely eliminating terrorism” from Pakistan, sources said.

Apparently, during the meeting, it was decided that Pakistan will soon be sending a Special Investigation Team to Pathankot, after consulting with India.

The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, army chief General Raheel Sharif, DG ISI, DG Intelligence Bureau and other senior civil, military and police officials.

“Considerable progress has been made in the investigations being carried out against terrorist elements reportedly linked to the Pathankot incident. Based on the initial investigations in Pakistan, and the information provided, several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad have been apprehended. The offices of the organisation are also being traced and sealed. Further investigations are underway,” the Pakistan government said.

Pakistan also said it would “remain engaged with India” in an effort to gather more leads from ground zero and achieve further progress in establishing a link between the terror attacks carried on at the Pathankot Air Force base and their operations in Pakistan.

Crucial leads

Islamabad started its operation after Delhi handed it over some “crucial leads” on the attack. This followed a telephonic conversation between both the National Security Advisers (NSA) — Ajit Doval and Nasser Khan Janjua — when all critical details was shared.

Earlier, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had stated that initial enquiry by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had revealed the usage of Pakistan-made equipments by the terrorists. He had also indicated certain security lapses in the base.

In a parallel development, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag said on Wednesday that it is “ready to carry out any task.”

Published on January 13, 2016

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