Pakistan to arrest Masood Azhar for saving talks with India?
New Delhi: Facing tremendous pressure from India to act against the perpetrators of Pathankot attack, Pakistan is reportedly considering the option of arresting Jaish-eMohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar who is said to be the brain behind these attacks.
Reports emanating from Pakistan suggest that Pakistan wants India to go ahead with foreign Secretary-level talks slated to be held on Jan14-15 in Islamabad. But the Indian government has indicated that it won't be possible to send S Jaishankar to Islamabad if Pakistan fails to take action based on the inputs provided to them relating to Pathankot attack before the scheduled talks.
Pakistan believes that arresting Masood Azhar will assuage the hurt sentiments of India and that's why they are mulling over this possibility but the Indian security experts are of the opinion that if the arrest happens et al, it will be more symbolic rather than any concrete and reassuring action from Pakistani side.
The scepticism on Indian side is not without reasons. Pakistan is known to treat prisoners like Masood Azhar with kid-gloves. The example of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhavi is there for all of us to learn from. Whenever Pakistan is forced to act against terror groups who are not anti-Pakistan, they arrest top leaders of these groups to placate the sentiments of the international community but treat them like political prisoners extending them all facilities inside the jail.
Will such a symbolic gesture be good enough for India to send its Foreign Secretary to visit Islamabad for talks with his Pakistani counterpart? Some media reports have also suggested that during meeting with Nawaz Sharif, Pakistani Army and ISI have clearly said that the leads provided by India are not concrete evidence of involvement of anybody from Pakistan in Pathankot attacks. If these reports are true then their intent is very clear and obvious. They would try every trick in the book to prove that Indian allegations are wrong.
But the Nawaz Sharif-led civilian government does not want the talks with India to get derailed because that will once again push them to the brink of being treated as a pariah in international circuits.