India likely to take final call on Foreign Secretary level talks with Pak today

New Delhi: India on Wednesday night deferred a decision on whether to go ahead with the Foreign Secretary- level talks with Pakistan on Friday after the detention of “several individuals” of the dreaded JeM by Islamabad although there was no confirmation of reports that its chief Maulana Masood Azhar was held.

Ministry of External Affairs Ministry officials said after a two-hour meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that it was decided to await the return of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval from Paris on Thursday afternoon for a call to be taken.

Earlier, reports from Islamabad said that Azhar, his brother and “several individuals” belonging to his dreaded terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad which is suspected to have engineered the Pathankot attack, were detained and their offices sealed after India demanded action, linking it to the fate of FS-level talks.
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. It sealed JeM 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 that 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.
Pakistan on Wednesday set up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising security and military officials to probe whether any Pakistani individual or organisation was involved in the Pathankot terror attack in India.
The JIT was set up following an order of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to ensure a thorough and fair probe by Pakistan. According to an official of the Prime Minister’s Office, the JIT would be led by Additional IG Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab, Rai Tahir.