'No role of JeM in Pathankot attack'

'No role of JeM in Pathankot attack'

Pakistan’s media has claimed that the SIT probing Pathankot attack has not come across Jaish-e-Mohhamed (JeM) chief Moulana Masood Azhar’s role in the terror strike.

This may hit efforts to salvage the recent peace-initiatives by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Islamabad has not yet formally informed New Delhi about the outcome of the probe carried out by its Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the role of Azhar and JeM in the January 2-5 attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab.

A report in a newspaper of Pakistan, however, quoted unidentified officials, stating that probe team could find no substantive evidence to suggest that the radical cleric had ordered or masterminded the strike on the airbase in India.

Officials in New Delhi said that the media report from Islamabad indicated that Pakistan was again going back to the denial mode on the issue of terror masterminds operating from its territory and launching cross-border strikes in India.

A senior official pointed out that India did not call off the process initiated by the two prime ministers for resumption of the stalled bilateral dialogue even after the terror attacks on the IAF base in India, only because Islamabad was willing to act on the information provided by New Delhi on the role of Azhar and other JeM operatives, who planned and the strike. New Delhi is of the view that if Pakistan backtracks on its promise and focuses more on giving a clean chit to an international terrorist like Azhar than, it will also have to “factor in” the change in Islamabad’s approach while deciding on “future course of bilateral engagements”.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Government put Azhar on the list of “Specially Designated Nationals” for his terror links long back. While the JeM is outlawed in Pakistan, its front Al Rahmat Trust has been maintaining several offices across the country.

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