Indo-Pak Talks Deferred, No Confirmation on Masood’s Arrest

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Update: The Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks will not take place as scheduled in Islamabad on Friday, Pakistan said, a development that comes in the wake of uncertainty created by the terror attack on the Pathankot air base.

 

New Delhi: Pakistan foreign office on Thursday said that it was not aware about detention of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, the suspected mastermind of the Pathankot attack.

Talking to reporters in Islamabad, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said he is “not aware of such arrests”. He also said that foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan have been postponed for the time being.

“The foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan will not be held tomorrow. Mutual consultations are on about rescheduling the talks,” Khalilullah told reporters.

He added that the Pakistani government will extend all its cooperation in India’s investigation of the January 2 attack which killed seven security personnel.

On Wednesday, Pakistan announced that it has shifted JeM chief Azhar, his brother and other members of the terror outfit to an undisclosed location where the concerned authorities were interrogating them about the armed attack on Pathankot airbase. A senior official of Pakistan’s elite security agency told this TOI on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly.

However, India was not convinced since a statement issued by the office of Prime Minister of Pakistan which confirmed arrests of members of Jaish did not mention about Azhar and his brother.

Amid speculation about whether the talks between India and Pakistan will go ahead as scheduled, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting at his residence with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign secretary S Jaishankar.

The government said it was skeptical of Pakistan’s claims of detaining Azhar and would wait for national security advisor A K Doval to speak with his Pakistan counterpart Nasir Janjua before forming a judgment.

TOI

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