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Pakistan declines India’s offer of joint investigation

Islamabad: Pakistan declined India’s proposal to jointly investigate Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar and other suspects linked with Pathankot airbase attack, official sources said.

Pakistan authorities arrested Masood Azhar after the terrorist attack at Pathankot airbase on Jan 2. A number of suspects are arrested and authorities closed down several JeM-run madarsas (seminaries) in different cities, The Nation reported on Monday.

Azhar, was released by India in 1999 in exchange for 155 passengers of the Indian Airlines plane hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and was quizzed by the investigators. The JeM chief’s brother Mufti Abdul Rehman Rauf was also detained, officials said on Saturday.

Pakistan is supposed to send a special investigating team to Pathankot in consultation with the Indian government for further investigations.

On January 2, some militants suspected from neighboring country attacked the Pathankot airbase, heavily armed. While neutralising the attack, seven security personnel lost their lives.

Due to the incident, Indian and Pakistani governments agreed to postpone scheduled diplomatic talks till the end of this month.

On Monday, French President Francois Hollande said India was “fully justified” in asking Pakistan for justice against the perpetrators of Pathankot attack.

Hollande said India and France were “united in their determination to act together against terrorism”.

India demanded, to let investigation against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and his brother. But Pakistan refused.

Pakistan assured India that Islamabad is investigating the case and will take action if anyone is found guilty, Official said.

“India wants us to hand over Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed and as we have declined a number of times, they want us to at least give access to the investigators to interrogate them. We have told them it was not possible,” he added.

Another official said investigators were interrogating the suspects arrested in the Pathankot case.

He said that Indian authorities are in contact with and is being updated timely. Pakistan has already submitted the initial report to India regarding Pathankot attack.

The phone numbers used by attackers were not registered therefore it is not possible to trace the numbers.

They have been working on the leads given by India to find out if Pakistan’s soil was used in the plot, he said.

Analyst Brigadier (retd) Agha Hussain Ahmed said the basic motive of terrorists behind this attack was to derail the recently initiated peace process between Pakistan and India.

“Pakistan has assured the Indian government of its full support in this regard and demanded India to hand over the proofs and evidence against any Pakistani involvement to take further action. Investigation of our citizens must be held in Pakistan,” he added.

Defence analyst Mohammed Khan said the two countries needed to see who was behind the attack on Pathankot airbase in India.

“Pakistan warmly welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival to Lahore. The international community appreciated the meeting between the two premiers and stressed to resolve all matters by using the option of dialogue. After the Pathankot incident, Indian media said the military establishment of Pakistan is against the talks between India and Pakistan,” he said.

Mohammed Khan said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Raheel Sharif both are under pressure and they will fully cooperate with India in eliminating and countering terrorism.

He said that they cannot hand over its citizens to India or any other country for investigations.(IANS)

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