Lahore, Jan. 15 (ANI): Punjab (Pakistan province) Law minister Rana Sanaullah has confirmed that Jaish-i-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar is under their ‘protective custody’ and assured of his arrest only if his involvement in the Pathankot attack was proved.
Azhar, was named by India as the mastermind of the Pathankot airbase attack.
According to Dawn, Sanaullah confirmed on a talk show that Masood Azhar was taken into protective custody by the counter-terrorism department.
When asked if his custody can be termed as an ‘arrest’, he explained that Azhar will only face arrest and legal action if his involvement in the Pathankot attack is proved beyond doubt.
Amid reports that Azhar had been detained, Pakistan announced the arrest of Jaish members and started sealing the organisation’s offices,
However, the Foreign Office has said that it’s not aware of the arrest of Azhar.
Azhar was arrested in India in February 1994, but New Delhi was forced to release him and two others – Mushtaq Zargar and Umar Sheikh – in December 1999 in exchange for passengers and crews of an Indian flight that was hijacked by militants linked to Harkatul Mujahideen from Kathmandu and forced to land in Kandahar.
Following his release and subsequent return to Pakistan, Azhar split with Harkatul Mujahideen in 2000 and formed his own militant outfit Jaish-i-Mohammad. (ANI)