Pathankot attack: Masood Azhar is a free bird

Pathankot attack: Masood Azhar is a free bird
Pathankot attack: Masood Azhar is a free bird

New Delhi

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap] week after Pakistani media extensively reported that Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-e-Mohammed, was detained following a crackdown in connection with terror attack on the Indian Air force base in Pathankot, the cat is finally out of the bag — the dreaded terrorist is a free bird!

Pakistan neither denied nor confirmed the report of Masood’s detention even though the story made headlines in both Pak and Indian media for days. India, which deferred the January 15 Foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan, is likely to put pressure on Pakistan to handover the terror mastermind, whose outfit is understood to have plotted the Pathankot attack.

Sources said that the Indian government has prepared a 70-page dossier on Masood Azhar. This will be handed over to Pakistan to prove his complicity in the Pathankot attack and his involvement in terror funding and execution.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]ntelligence sources in Delhi have revealed that Masood Azhar has neither been arrested nor put under house arrest. Three of his junior functionaries were arrested but not under charges linked to Pathankot terror attack.

The disclosure will come as a big dampener for Indian political leadership, which has been praising Pakistan for taking positive action against the elements involved in the Pathankot terror attack. It also shows that the Modi Government has been taken for a joy ride by Pakistan, which has done precious little to address India’s concern on terror emanating from its soil. The development also betrays New Delhi’s naivete in handling a neighbor which is past master in treachery and back-stabbing.

Sources said that Pakistan police has not even registered a case against Azhar in connection with the Pathankot attack.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]ndian officials here feel that Pakistan is back to its old tricks and was not serious about taking any concrete action against those involved in planning and funding the terror plot.

“It is foolish to think that Pakistan will act against Masood Azhar and his men since the ISI and the Pakistan army have all along backed terror strikes against India,” said an official.

The Pakistan Prime Minister Office had issued a statement on January 13, stating 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 organization are also being traced and sealed. Further investigations are underway,” the statement said.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he statement also said that the spirit of the cooperative approach 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.

Now that it is clear that Pakistan is trying to mislead India, it will be difficult for New Delhi to resume the dialogue process any time soon.

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