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Pathankot attack probe: NIA court issues arrest warrant against Masood Azhar, four others

Shamsher Singh 08 Apr 2016, 20:48:22 IST
Shamsher Singh

Mohali: In a firm step against the perpetrators of the attack on the Pathankot air base on January 2, a special court of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in Mohali today issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and four others.

Apart from Masood, the warrant has also been issued against his brother Asad Rauf, Kashif Jaan and Shahid Latif for conspiring to carry out the attacks on the strategic air base of the Indian Air Force. 

With this move, the four handlers of Pathankot attacks are now formally wanted in the case. 

The court's decision came following the strong evidences presented by the NIA before the court which included entire details about the terrorists, their parents, personal details and addresses. Telephonic conversations between the terrorists and the JeM handlers. 

The video of Rauf, brother of Azhar, was also presented before the court. In the video which was uploaded on a website being hosted from Pakistan, Rauf had claimed responsibility for the attack and complimented his boys for it. The video has since been removed and the website has also gone off the cyber world. 

The non-bailable warrant will be sent to Interpol. India had built a strong case for proscribing Azhar as terrorist at the UN but the move was vetoed by China. An Interpol Red Corner notice is already pending against Azhar for being allegedly involved in the conspiracy behind attacks on Parliament and Jammu and Kashmir state assembly.

Similarly an Interpol Red Corner Notice is pending against Rauf in connection with the IC-814 hijacking case of 1999.

Meanwhile, the NIA is set to provide another set of strong evidences to Pakistan. These include calls and messages from Pakistan that came after the NIA published photographs of the slain terrorists on the NIA website. NIA sources said this was discussed with the JIT from Pakistan that visited India.

NIA said that after posting the pictures of the four dead terrorists on its official website, more information was coming from across the world which included many people from Pakistan who were eager to share details pertaining to the slain militants.

The four terrorists were identified as Nasir Hussain (Punjab province), Abu Bakar, (Gujranwala), Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum (both from Sindh).

The move comes a day after Pakistan marked a blatant U-turn in its probe against the terrorists who planned and executed the terror attack that left seven Indian security personnel dead and several others injured.   

India rebuked Pakistan’s comment saying that the probe into the Pathankot attack was not a question of reciprocity, saying that it had informed Pakistan on march 26 that its gesture of allowing Pakistan's Joint Investigation Team access to the Pathankot air base for probe into the January 2 attack was on the basis of the reciprocity.

India's observations came in response to comments in this regard by Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit.

"It is very difficult for me to say. But at this stage... the whole investigation is not about question of reciprocity in my view. It is more about extending cooperation or our two countries cooperating with each other to get to the bottom of the incident," Basit had said in response to a query on how Pakistan would respond to India's formal request to allow a team of the NIA to visit Pakistan to probe the Pathankot terror attack.

Basit further said that there was no dialogue process scheduled between the two countries and that the peace talks were suspended for now. The Pakistani envoy further hailed China's move to block India's bid get the UN sanctions committee from designating Azhar as terrorist, maintaining that the case "did not meet the requirements" of the Security Council.

(With PTI inputs)