Lahore, Jan 15 : Pakistan’s Punjab province Law Minister Rana Sanaullah today confirmed that banned Jaish-i-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar has been taken into “protective custody” along with his accomplices, but clarified he is “not arrested.” “Masood Azhar has been taken into protective custody by the Punjab police counter-terrorism department,” Sanaullah told Dawn News. Earlier, the government chose not to confirm or deny the reports that Azhar has been taken into “protective custody”.
“We have taken Maulana Azhar and his fellows under protective custody in connection with the Pathankot incident. However, we will arrest him if his involvement in the Pathankot attack is proved,” Sanaullah said. He added that operation against banned outfits including JeM would continue under the National Action Programme. India has identified Azhar as the mastermind of the Pathankot attack on January 2. It has also blamed his brother Rauf and five others for carrying out the attack in which seven Indian soldiers were killed along with all the six terrorists. (Also Read: MEA on Pathankot Attack: Pakistan SIT to reach India shortly; No official confirmation of Masood Azhar arrest)
India has shared this information along with two Pakistani phone numbers that were made calls to by the terrorists. According to reports, security agencies have arrested 31 activists of JeM from different parts of the province. After a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday, his office issued a statement which said that “several individuals” belonging to JeM have been apprehended in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and some of its offices traced and sealed. Today, Pakistan said that the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks will not take place tomorrow as scheduled. Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah told a news briefing that both sides were holding consultations to reschedule the talks.
Indonesia on security alert as police probe attacks Jakarta, Jan 15 (AFP) Army trucks thundered through Indonesia’s capital today as authorities boosted security at possible terror targets and probed a suspected Islamic State cell blamed for Jakarta’s deadly terror attacks. A series of bombings and subsequent gun battles yesterday between the attackers and police in a busy part of the capital lined with malls and foreign missions left two civilians and five attackers dead. Police in the world’s most populous Muslim country have blamed the carnage on a network of Islamic State fighters from Southeast Asia forged in the radical jihadist group’s war in Syria and Iraq.
“An alert has been imposed throughout Indonesia,” said national police spokesman Anton Charliyan. “National police are on their highest alert, especially in areas considered targets of terror, like police stations, government offices, embassies, with army backup.” He did not elaborate on the army’s role but AFP reporters saw a passing convoy of a half-dozen military trucks filled with heavily armed soldiers in central Jakarta, and heightened security elsewhere, with police patrolling in flak jackets. A police car and a half-dozen officers were seen guarding the French embassy near the attack site. Charliyan added police would be conducting raids Friday as they probe those responsible for the bloodshed, which spilled out in dramatic fashion on a bustling street in the mid-morning. He declined to offer further details on the planned raids.
The assault left five attackers, a Canadian and an Indonesian man dead and 20 others injured, according to police, in what the country’s president called “acts of terror”. Police have singled out Indonesian extremist Bahrum Naim as being behind the planning. Naim, believed to be in Syria, is said by authorities to be a founding member of Katibah Nusantara, the grouping of Southeast Asian fighters there. Terror analysts warn that the group, believed to include fighters predominantly from Indonesia but also Malaysia and elsewhere in the region, has threatened for more than a year to bring the jihad home. Indonesian authorities were yet to offer concrete details from their investigations. Muhammad Iqbal, Jakarta’s police spokesman, told AFP authorities were working to establish the identities and connections of the dead attackers.