Pathankot attack mastermind and chief of the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, Maulana Masood Azhar, has been detained by authorities in Pakistan, media reports said on Wednesday. Geo TV said Masood Azhar -- who was named by India as one of the handlers of the six terrorists who attacked the airbase -- was taken into protective custody. This means that he is a suspect, but has no specific case registered against him.
Azhar's brother Abdul Rehman Rauf and other members of the dreaded outfit too have been reportedly arrested and their offices sealed. This comes after India demanded action against the JeM for allegedly engineering the Pathankot attack and linked it to the fate of bilateral foreign secretary-level talks.
CNN has learnt that a high level meeting will be held at the Prime Minister's residence in 7 RCR shortly to decide on whether to go ahead with the talks. There was no official word from Pakistan on Azhar's detention, but a statement from its PMO confirmed the arrests of "several individuals" belonging to JeM. Top sources in New Delhi said news of the detention "if true is a positive step." Azhar and two other terrorists were released from an Indian prison in 1999 in exchange for release of 155 passengers of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar.
Pakistan has also said it's considering sending a special investigation team to Pathankot as more information would be required to carry forward the process of cooperation with India. The statement from Pakistan's PMO expressed "national resolve" not to allow its territory to be used for acts of terrorism anywhere. "Considerable progress has been made in the investigations being carried out against terrorist elements reportedly linked to the Pathankot incident," it said.
Terrorists belonging to the JeM are believed by India to be behind the Pathankot terror attack on January 2 in which seven security personnel were killed.