In the first official confirmation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar’s detention, Pakistan PM’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz has said that he has been under “protective custody” since January 14.
In an interview to India Today TV’s Karan Thapar, when asked whether Azhar was in custody, Aziz said, “As a precautionary measure, the head of Jaish-e-Mohammad has been under protective custody… That is what has been reported by the agencies concerned.”
About the FIR registered in Pakistan not containing Azhar’s name, he said, “The FIR is only a first stage report and subsequent FIRs will definitely carry names.”
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He added, “Whenever a crime happens across the border, it is much more difficult to pursue the legal requirements because we don’t have the locations or evidence. The special investigation team had to investigate the mobile numbers or whatever links were available and find out who could be behind the attack.”
Aziz said that India has agreed in-principle to allow Pakistan’s SIT to visit Pathankot for investigations. “Leads provided by India in Pathankot attack case are being investigated. It will be helpful if SIT is able to reach the crime scene, said he said.
Aziz said a Special Investigation Team from Pakistan may visit Pathankot in the beginning of March to probe the attack and that his country was pursuing the investigation seriously.
According to India Today, Aziz said one of the mobile phone numbers linked to the attackers was traced to the terror group’s headquarters in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur and called the lodging of the FIR in connection with the Pathankot assault as a “logical and positive step” in bringing the perpetrators to justice.