Pakistan detains JeM militants, offices sealed

Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday detained 'several individuals' belonging to JeM, which is suspected to have engineered the Pathankot terror attack, and sealed its offices after India linked Islamabad's 'prompt and decisive' action to the fate of Foreign Secretary-level talks scheduled on Friday.

Maulana Masood AzharMaulana Masood Azhar. Pic/AFP

Pakistan is also considering sending a special investigation team to Pathankot as more information would be required to carry forward the process of cooperation with India.

The Pakistani action, which was reviewed at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, come as the fate of the FS-level talks hung in balance with just two days for Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to go to Islamabad for talks with his counterpart on resuming the bilateral dialogue process.

Terrorists belonging to the dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammad, headed by Maulana Masood Azhar of Kandahar hijack episode, is believed by India to be behind the Pathankot terror attack in which seven security personnel were killed.

A PMO statement issued after the meeting today said it noted with satisfaction that as part of Pakistan's commitment to eliminate terrorism from its soil and the expressed national resolve not to allow the territory to be used for acts of terrorism anywhere.

It said "considerable progress has been made in the investigations being carried out against terrorist elements reportedly linked to the Pathankot incident.

"Based on 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 statement said.

In the spirit of the cooperative approach, the statement said, it was also decided that in order to carry the process forward, additional information would be required for which the government of Pakistan is considering sending a SIT to Pathankot in consultation with government of India.

"The meeting reiterated that in line with our decision to counter and completely eliminate terrorism, Pakistan would remain engaged with India on this issue," the statement said.

Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, Director-General ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other senior officials attended the meeting.

Last week India put the ball squarely in Pakistan's court, linking the FS-level talks to Islamabad's "prompt and decisive" action in the Pathankot terror attack for which it has provided "actionable intelligence".

An official said that close to a dozen militants have been held so far and were being questioned. He refused to give further information like where they have been held or when they could be produced before any court.

In the terror attack on Pathankot Air Force base that began on January 2, six militants were also eliminated in an operation that lasted four days.

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