JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar not in custody: Intel

AZHAR Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad | Reuters

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad has not been arrested nor has he been put under house arrest while three of his junior functionaries were detained in cases not connected with the Pathankot terror attack, officials have said.

Quoting intelligence inputs, government officials said no case has been registered against Azhar in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and there has been no visible action against the leader of the terror group responsible for many attacks in India.

Three junior-level functionaries of the JeM were detained by Pakistan's security agencies but only for possessing some incriminating documents, which have nothing to do with the January 2 attack on the Pathankot air base in which seven security personnel were killed, besides the six perpetrators.

Officials said initial reports of Azhar being detained for the Pathankot incident were completely false and suspected to be a propaganda by some Pakistani agencies.

Pakistan is yet to inform India if it has registered any criminal case against the JeM or any of its activists for the Pathankot attack.

The officials said since Pakistan has announced that several individuals belonging to JeM have been apprehended, it should also disclose under which law it has detained them and started the probe.

India has given to Pakistan information about certain mobile numbers which were used by the handlers of the six terrorists who stormed the sensitive air base in Punjab. There is no information on the identity of the owners of those numbers, they said.

Tapped conversations between the terrorists and their Pakistani handlers were also shared, government officials said, adding the government there should take the probe ahead by registering a criminal case and taking custody of those who received the calls.

India has given specific leads under which specific detentions should be done, they said.

Pakistan has a legitimate right to seek more evidence but first they have to act on the evidence already shared with them, the officials said.

As far as Pakistani SIT's visit here is concerned, the officials said any evidence can be collected only under some law but there is no information regarding the law under which it would like to collect proof by visiting Pathankot airbase.

A Pakistan PMO statement issued on January 13 had said "considerable progress has been made in the investigations being carried out against terrorist elements reportedly linked to the Pathankot incident.

"Based on initial investigations in Pakistan, and the information provided, several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad have been apprehended. The offices of the organisation are also being traced and sealed. Further investigations are underway," the statement said.

In the spirit of the cooperative approach, the statement said, it was also decided that in order to carry the process forward, additional information would be required for which the government of Pakistan is considering sending a SIT to Pathankot in consultation with government of India.

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