Pak rejects India’s proposal to grill Masood Azhar jointly

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Islamabad: Pakistan has turned down India’s proposal to jointly interrogate Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar and other suspects linked with Pathankot airbase attack , official sources said.

Authorities in Pakistan have detained Masood Azhar after the January 2 terrorist attack at Pathankot airbase. Several other suspects were arrested and authorities closed down a number of JeM-run madarsas (seminaries) in different cities, The Nation reported on Monday.

Azhar, who was released from an Indian prison in 1999 in exchange for 155 passengers of the Indian Airlines plane hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan, was quizzed by the investigators. The JeM chief`s brother Mufti Abdul Rehman Rauf was also detained, officials said on Saturday.

Pakistan is likely to send a special investigating team to Pathankot in consultation with the Indian government for further investigations.

On January 2, heavily armed militants, suspected to be from Pakistan, attacked the Pathankot airbase. A total of six terrorists and seven security personnel were killed in the operations.

Following the attacks, Indian and Pakistani governments agreed to postpone scheduled diplomatic talks till the end of January.

French President Francois Hollande on Monday said India was “fully justified” in asking Pakistan for justice against the perpetrators of Pathankot attack.

Hollande said India and France were “united in their determination to act together against terrorism”.

India wanted to send investigators to interrogate Masood Azhar and his brother but Pakistan “politely refused” it, a senior official said.

Pakistan assured India that Islamabad was seriously investigating the case and will not hesitate to act if anyone was found guilty, the official said.

“India wants us to hand over Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed and as we have declined a number of times, they want us to at least give access to the investigators to interrogate them. We have told them it was not possible,” he added.

Another official said investigators were interrogating the suspects arrested in the Pathankot case.

He said the authorities were in contact with India and keeping them updated. Pakistan has already submitted initial report to India regarding Pathankot attack.

 

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