Pathankot attack: John Kerry calls up, Sharif says ‘truth will be out soon’, Pak officials want ‘concrete evidence’

Kerry-India-PTINawaz Sharif chairs high level meet
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting and discussed the Pathankot terror attack as he directed officials to speed up work on the leads given by India, sources said.
“Issues pertaining to national and regional security were discussed during the meeting,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a brief statement.
The meeting was attended by Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance; Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Interior; Sartaj Aziz, Advisor on Foreign Affairs; Lt Gen (Retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, National Security Advisor; Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Foreign Secretary; Aftab Sultan, chief of Intelligence Bureau and other officials.
A source privy to the details said that the meeting discussed the Pathankot attack and the information shared so far by India.
“The meeting decided to speed up work on the leads given by India,” he said on anonymity.
Another official said that the information provided by India was not enough as it was just limited to telephone numbers and Pakistan might ask for additional information.
“We would like to have solid information to build a case for action otherwise courts intervene and the suspects are bailed out,” he said.
He added the meeting agreed that strong action would be taken after probe against anyone found guilty of involvement in the attack.
The meeting came as India said it is waiting for “prompt and decisive action” as promised by Sharif to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a telephone call on Tuesday.
India has provided “specific and actionable information in this regard” to Pakistan.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s army chief Gen Raheel Sharif reaffirmed zero tolerance for terrorist organisations and took a detailed review of overall internal and external security situation in the country.
He made the remarks while presiding over the Corps Commander Conference held at General Headquarters, a statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
In a pre-dawn attack on January 2, a group of heavily- armed Pakistani terrorists, suspected to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at the Air Force base in Punjab.
Who is Maulana Masood Azhar?
Maulana Masood Azhar was the general secretary of another terror group Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) in 1994 and was on a ‘mission’ in Jammu and Kashmir when he was arrested on 11 February the same year. When he was released, the HuA had been included in the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations which had compelled the outfit to rename itself as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). The Indian Express explains the re-emergence of JeM after years of staying low key.
However, Masood Azhar decided to float the new outfit JeM rather than rejoin his old outfit. He was also reported to have received assistance in setting up the JeM from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and several Sunni sectarian outfits of Pakistan.
JeM, like other terrorist outfits in J&K, claims to using violence to force a withdrawal of Indian security forces from the state. The outfit claims that each of its offices in Pakistan would serve as schools of jihad. In its fight against India, he boasted that the outfit would not only “liberate” Kashmir, but also would take control of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Amritsar and Delhi.
Masood Azhar, the amir (chief) of the outfit was arrested by Pakistani security forces on December 29, 2001, after pressure from India and other foreign countries following the December 13, 2001 attack on India’s Parliament. However, a three-member Review Board of Lahore High Court ordered on December 14, 2002, that Azhar be released.
With Agencies

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