No official confirmation of Masood Azhar’s arrest: MEA

NEW DELHI(PTI): India will take a call on going ahead with the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan after Wenesday night’s meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

“The decision(on FS talks) will be taken after the meeting,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters tonight after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar met Swaraj. The hectic consultations followed the detention of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar and “several individuals” of his terror outfit suspected to be behind the Pathankot attack on January 2. However, Swarup said there has been no official confirmation of the “arrest” of Azhar.

Pakistan on Wednesday arrested Jaish-e- Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother and “several individuals” belonging to his dreaded outfit, which is suspected to have engineered the Pathankot terror attack, and sealed its offices after India demanded action on the group linking it to the fate of Foreign Secretary-level talks.

Azhar’s brother Abdul Rehman Rauf has also been arrested, Geo TV said. While the arrest of several individuals was announced in a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office, there was no official word on Azhar’s detention. Officials said Azhar, the dreaded terrorist and two other terrorists who were released from an Indian prison in 1999 in exchange for release of 155 passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane, has been taken into protective custody after raids on several JeM offices.