CHANDIGARH -- Commenting on media reports on the arrest of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar in connection with the Pathankot terrorist attack, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put pressure on Pakistan to prosecute the JeM chief.
"We request Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put adequate pressure on Pakistan to ensure that Maulana Masood Azhar is not only detained but arrested and booked for perpetuating and perpetrating terrorist activities in Pathankot, as also for various other crimes against India, that he continues to commit," Surjewala told ANI.
"Let us know the charges under which Masood Azhar has been detained in Pakistan. He is a terrorist who was exchanged for hostages in the Indian Airlines flight in Kandahar, Afghanistan when BJP Government was in power. International law warrants that such a person should be handed over to India for prosecution in accordance with Indian law," he added.
Asking the government to act as a matured nation, he said detention of Masood Azhar is a step forward, but detention and preventive custody is one thing and arrest is totally a different thing.
Almost 48 hours before the scheduled meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries, Pakistan media earlier today reported that Masood Azhar had been detained.
Media reports suggested that Masood Azhar was also taken into protective custody and was being questioned.
Geo English re-tweeted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as saying, "Jaish-e-Mohammad offices being traced, sealed."
"Pakistan to send a team of special investigators to the Pathankot airbase," tweeted Pakistan Prime Minister's Office earlier.
The Pakistan Government on Wednesday said it had arrested several members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group, which is suspected of being behind the Pathankot Air Base attack earlier this month.
The Pakistan PMO in a statement said the government had made "considerable progress" in investigating the attack, and it wanted to send a team of special investigators to the Pathankot Air Base.
"Based on the initial investigations in Pakistan, and the information provided, several individuals belonging to JeM have been apprehended," the office of Prime Minister Sharif said.
"The offices of the organisation are also being traced and sealed. Further investigations are underway," it said.
The statement was released after Prime Minister Sharif chaired a high-level civil-military meeting in Islamabad to discuss the regional security situation and the investigation into the Pathankot airbase terrorist attack.
The meeting was attended by attended by top civilian and military leaders, including Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, PM's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, and other senior officials.
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