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Foreign Secretary talks deferred, Pak doesn't confirm JeM chief's detention

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Published Jan 14, 2016, 1:03 pm IST
Updated Jan 14, 2016, 2:19 pm IST
Both sides holding consultations to reschedule talks, says Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. (Photo: AFP)
 Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. (Photo: AFP)

Islamabad: The India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary-level talks will not take place as scheduled tomorrow, Pakistan said on Thursday, a development that comes in the wake of uncertainty created by the terror attack on the Pathankot air base.

Pakistan also did not confirm the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, media reports over which India has some reservations.

 

Read: JeM Chief warns Pak, says 'an army which loves death has been prepared'

Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said the FS-level talks tomorrow for which Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar was to travel will not take place as planned. He told a news briefing that both sides were holding consultations to reschedule the talks.

To questions on the detention of Azhar, he said, "I am not aware of any such arrest. I don't have anything else apart from the statement issued by the PMO yesterday."

After a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the PMO had issued a statement on Wednesday, which said that "several individuals" belonging to JeM have been apprehended in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and some of its offices traced and sealed.

 

On Wednesday night, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup had said India had not received any confirmation on media reports of detention of Azhar, who is believed to be the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack.

Ever since the terror attack on January 2, there have been doubts whether the FS-level talks could take place as planned with India linking "prompt and decisive" action by Pakistan to the parleys.

On Wednesday, Pakistan detained "several individuals" of the JeM apart from sealing some of their offices in an apparent bid to get the talks going.

 

Read: Pak detains JeM chief Masood Azhar, questions him on Pathankot attack

India yesterday deferred a decision on the talks apparently because of lack of confirmation on Azhar's arrest. There is speculation that the NSAs of the two countries may meet before the FS-level talks.

Read: No official confirmation on arrest of JeM chief Masood Azhar, says India

Last week India put the ball squarely in Pakistan's court, linking the FS-level talks to Islamabad's "prompt and decisive" action in the Pathankot terror attack for which it has provided "actionable intelligence".

 

Narendra Modi had asked his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif for prompt and decisive action on the basis of specific evidence.

Sharif had set up a committee of his top intelligence, army and government officers to investigate India's allegations.

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