Jaish leader Masood Azhar held for Pathankot attack

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Islamabad, Jan 13 (IANS) Terrorist leader Maulana Masood Azhar, who India says plotted the terror attack on the IAF base in Pathankot, was detained on Wednesday along with several others, the media reported.

The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief, known for his close ties with Pakistani intelligence agencies, was taken to an undisclosed destination and was being questioned, The News said.

Also detained was his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf, it said.

The report quoted unidentified sources as saying that “concerned authorities were interrogating them about the armed attack on Pathankot”.

Pakistan earlier said that several JeM activists had been arrested and its offices sealed as part of an investigation into the suspected Pakistani links to the January 2 terror attack.

Six Pakistani terrorists believed to be from the outlawed JeM sneaked into Punjab and raided the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot, killing seven security personnel.

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Security forces killed all the terrorists. India later said it had delivered “actionable intelligence” for Pakistan to act against those who masterminded the audacious terror attack.

News of Wednesday’s arrests came ahead of a scheduled meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan in Islamabad on January 15. Amid doubts, New Delhi has not said if it will take part in the talks.

Masood Azhar and two other Pakistani terrorists were freed by India in December 1999 in exchange for the passengers of an Indian Airlines flight hijacked to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

The hijacking, from the Kathmandu airport, reportedly was masterminded by Masood Azhar’s brother Ibrahim Athar. Once the three terrorists in Indian custody were handed over to the hijackers, they fled to Pakistan.

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In Pakistan, Masood Azhar keeps ranting against India. He also praised the Pathankot terror attack.

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