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NEW DELHI: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has revealed that one of the mobile phone numbers linked to those who attacked the Pathankot airbase had been traced to the Jaish-e-Mohammed group’s headquarters in Bahawalpur.

Mr Aziz called the lodging of the FIR in connection with the Pathankot assault a “logical and positive step” in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

JeM chief Masood Azhar has been named by India as the mastermind of the airbase attack and Mr Aziz confirmed media reports that he (Azhar) had been under “protective custody” since Jan 14.

The adviser told India Today news channel it was for India to decide on dates for foreign secretary-level talks, postponed in the wake of the airbase attack.

He said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) from Pakistan may visit Pathankot in the first few days of March to probe the attack and that his country was pursuing the investigation seriously.

Speaking to Karan Thapar of Headlines Today, Mr Aziz said that Azhar, along with a few other operatives of JeM, had been kept under protective custody and that some of the JeM’s premises had been sealed. He said action would follow against Azhar and others the moment evidence became available.

Mr Aziz said the FIR filed four days back in the Pathankot attack case had created legal basis for a Special Investigation Team of Pakistan to visit India to collect evidence.

He said India had agreed to the SIT visit.

Asked about Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s comment that SIT would not be allowed to go inside the airbase in Pathankot, Mr Aziz said access to crime scene always helped investigators.

On holding of the foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries, Aziz said the “ball is in India’s court”.

“The answer to it lies entirely with India,” he said, adding he hoped Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif would meet on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington next month.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2016


Comments (115) Closed



N_Saq Feb 23, 2016 06:57am

So this is a positive step and development...

Alladitti Feb 23, 2016 07:19am

Mr Aziz, these are important issues of international fight against terrorism Stop playing with balls and get serious. Only your country suffers due to you taking such stance

Rajesh Feb 23, 2016 07:22am

Heart warming response from Pakistan... Why can't our two countries be like this all the time?? We need to learn from other countries on how to build friendships and prosper... It's very sad that we fight like 5 year old school boys..

Rational Feb 23, 2016 07:28am

i concur, a phone number is a solid solid evidence ... bulls eye

Faisal Feb 23, 2016 07:39am

No point doing talks. India will only resolve issues when it benefits them.

Ammy Feb 23, 2016 07:40am

Finally mr. Aziz calling spade A SPADE

Amit Feb 23, 2016 07:41am

I am an Indian. I love Pakistan and I hate terrorists. Hope Pakistan will ban all the terrorists organization and India & Pakistan may become developed country will less expenses on arms and more expenses on economy.

PK Feb 23, 2016 07:47am

So "unregistered" phone numbers can be identified if required...

Shujaat Khan Feb 23, 2016 07:53am

Okay, are authorities going to arrest someone like the owner of the phone for questioning?

SK Feb 23, 2016 08:02am

This is unprecedented! Finally realizing that there no good or bad terrorists!

auginpk Feb 23, 2016 08:02am

Thanks god. What else more is there to say.

wasim Feb 23, 2016 08:03am

so then in the phone company?

Nitin Pillai Feb 23, 2016 08:10am

This is a very positive development. Admitting the Jaish connection itself is a deviation from the previous pattern of outright denial.

Shiraj Feb 23, 2016 08:18am

Protective custody? Protection from who?

Zulfiqar Feb 23, 2016 08:37am

Pakistan is cooperating, now hope India will end occupation of Jammu & Kashmir and will act as per United Nations resolutions.

Dev Singh Feb 23, 2016 08:39am

Cant believe this - clear sign that Pakistan is changing! What a pleasant news for the world!!

Jax Feb 23, 2016 08:52am

@Shiraj Protected BY who will be a better question.

ZAK Feb 23, 2016 08:56am

Good and honest development!! Hope the perpetrators will not be spared

Awaaz Feb 23, 2016 09:01am

Pakistan finally accepting. Good investigation, kerp up the good work.

Indian Feb 23, 2016 09:04am

more proofs any one ?

Tariq Feb 23, 2016 09:11am

It is funny that people who are alleged to attack the air base had phone which point to Jaish.

Singh Feb 23, 2016 09:19am

No need to resume talks with India; the day Pathankot happened, town was totally closed, as if well prepared for something to happen.

Trump Feb 23, 2016 09:20am

Its not a big issue with IT India to implant telephone numbers.

Narendra Kumar Feb 23, 2016 09:21am

@Zulfiqar My dear friend, solution to J&K is already known, The only possible outcome will be to make LOC as international boundary. That too will come with lots of riders. If anyone has any other solution in mind. Probably its time for them to wake up and say Good Morning.

Karachities.. Feb 23, 2016 09:23am

@ZAK , It is first time that you are saying correct and truth.

Azam Feb 23, 2016 09:26am

Why is this fool accepting this openly ???

Anuj Feb 23, 2016 09:33am

@Azam so much for a terror victim nation.

Pathetic Feb 23, 2016 09:38am

@Tariq a very good question indeed. Is this investigation being conducted by Punjab Police?

anil sahu Feb 23, 2016 09:40am

@Zulfiqar i hope u sud read the UN resolution first

Sachin Feb 23, 2016 09:45am

Plz continue to maintain this transparency. While its unfortunate reality to have a dispute and a conflict, people should atleast know the truth about who is fighting whom.

DelhiDude Feb 23, 2016 09:48am

Since the Pakistani govt now will be treated as enemy by our enemy JeM, our Indian govt must support Pakistan govt in every possible front.

Komal S Feb 23, 2016 09:54am

@Zulfiqar Co-operating on stopping terrorism is not a negotiation tactic. Don't corner yourself with your UN resolution reference... UN has stopped talking about it.

Divergence Feb 23, 2016 10:05am

For how long such unconstitutional organizations allowed to execute such actions which bring trouble rather than pride? Why can't the government control such groups and cut their wings rather than allowing them a free hand to tarnish Pakistan's image on international stage and create domestic dischord?

Gurjeet singh Feb 23, 2016 10:24am

and what after FIR, sure nothing will happen like many other cases..

rehan Feb 23, 2016 10:38am

Now let us see India show some progress on Samjhota Express

kublai Feb 23, 2016 10:38am

@Tariq naaahh..not obvious mian..logical..

Rajeev Feb 23, 2016 10:48am

@rehan Samjhota Express culprits were found by India and are already in Jail since long.

Saturn Feb 23, 2016 10:49am

So an organization which has supposedly been banned for over a decade still has active offices that need to be shut down. A terrorist whose freedom was negotiated for the lives of hostages of a hijacked plane has finally been put in protective custody 15 years after the fact.

At least they can't be blamed for not acting promptly.

Arun-KS Feb 23, 2016 10:50am

Thanks! If any criminal activity performed on Pak soil, then unearth the truth for own credibility. Pakistan do not need to satisfy India or Us or abcd. Sovereign Pakistan should go along with the path of truth without fear or favour.

Bobby Paul Feb 23, 2016 10:51am

@Zulfiqar VERY SMART? LOL. Funny

BK Feb 23, 2016 10:52am

Under the command of Mr. Nawaz Shariff there were sincere attempts earlier also to resolve issue with India. Hope this time some progress will happend.

NPS Feb 23, 2016 11:01am

@Karachities.. I am with you!!!!!!

sunil Feb 23, 2016 11:16am

I salute NS for the change... let things change for better

Divergence Feb 23, 2016 11:20am

Let's hope India will also take some steps to investigate raw's involvement, alleged in Pakistan.

Tarannum S Feb 23, 2016 11:20am

Positive development. Admitting this openly is a brave act. We need to understand that these terrorists are common enemies of both Pakistan and India. No need to shield them anymore. BTW what more evidence are you looking for?

MA Feb 23, 2016 12:00pm

@Komal S UN resolution is the solution to JK. If India backs out with that, back out all talks on it. Full stop

sourav Ghosh Feb 23, 2016 12:03pm

@Zulfiqar Do you know the UN resolutions?

sri.s Feb 23, 2016 12:07pm

This is a positive step. Hope both side keep their cool and work on the positives. Make sure that third parties in both countries can't derail it. Best of luck to both PMs.

wasim Feb 23, 2016 12:19pm

the fake cell phone calls like from planes many years ago? that were traced. log out

DVK Feb 23, 2016 12:19pm

Track was not surprise. Acceptance is great positive step.

rehan Feb 23, 2016 12:23pm

Now India would offer a lot of cooperation on Samjhota Express, I am sure !

Zarb-e-Azb Feb 23, 2016 12:27pm

Its good for the future of Pakistan that its taking action against these non-state actors who are using Pakistan as a sanctuary. Good job by Zarb-e-Azb("War on Terror"/ National action Plan) against the terrorists.

Zarb-e-Azb Feb 23, 2016 12:29pm

"Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has revealed that one of the mobile phone numbers linked to those who attacked the Pathankot airbase had been traced to the Jaish-e-Mohammed group’s headquarters in Bahawalpur."

Thank you for accepting the evidence given by India and not saying the evidence is insufficient and hence action cannot be taken against the militants.

Strange Feb 23, 2016 12:33pm

So jaish will be calling from their office landline. What a funny thing. People are stupid to plan like this?

A.JABBAR KERALA Feb 23, 2016 12:33pm

@Divergence ... RAW involvement is only counter blame. So far no evidence was have received or shown to anyone accept verbal blame game. You are still welcome to show some evidence like India.

Rohit Singh Feb 23, 2016 12:34pm

Positive development

Ibrar Feb 23, 2016 12:36pm

@Amit Hooray! You are a man of peace and I fully agree that both our countries should work together to achieve peace and economic prosperity. I have no doubt that more and more people from both sides(and ultimately the masses) will demand closer ties and it is at that time that the politicians will show willingness to discuss our bilateral issues in a manner acceptable to both. They will also have to deal with the influences of powers who see their benefit in divide and rule.

Afzal Feb 23, 2016 12:50pm

@DelhiDude

Afzal Feb 23, 2016 12:54pm

@Tarannum S More evidence will be needed before our courts can give a guilty verdict. As a lawyer and they will tell you what I mean!

Divergence Feb 23, 2016 01:23pm

@A.JABBAR KERALA which evidence are you talking about?

Rohit Feb 23, 2016 01:33pm

@rehan

The perpetrators of samjhauta have been in jail for years..what else do you want?

M. Ahmed Feb 23, 2016 01:41pm

In today's technology phone numbers can be easily manipulated and changed to whatever you like, give me access to a Telco network and I can show that, no big deal...

indian Feb 23, 2016 01:55pm

@Azam good one bro

ZAK Feb 23, 2016 01:58pm

@M. Ahmed Yes.. it can be done. But too bad JeM did not know how to do it

M.Saeed Feb 23, 2016 02:11pm

I would first and foremost connect the provided evidence from my own end to verify if it was genuine.

Khalid Khan Feb 23, 2016 02:38pm

Okay!

Now what happens to the indian army officers involved in Samjhota Express killing of innocent Pakistanis?

Neutral Feb 23, 2016 02:39pm

Phone numbers were given by the indians, can be just a wrong list, we have to confirm if the call really happened and was dialed by the terrorist and not forged by RAW

Khalid Khan Feb 23, 2016 02:40pm

@Amit We love you as well. Hope your government also stops supporting terrorism inside Pakistan via Afghanistan.

khalid pirzada Feb 23, 2016 02:44pm

@M.Saeed Revenge is not the solution of peace, Now a days a few country in the world safe from this headache, if this terrorism situation going more 5 to 10 years all over the world people will be affected .

arora Feb 23, 2016 03:05pm

@Azam because its truth

Sincere Feb 23, 2016 03:15pm

India and the world hopes Pakistan is sincere in taking action against the terrorists.

ZAK Feb 23, 2016 03:17pm

@Sincere Everyone in Pakistan hopes so too!

venkat Feb 23, 2016 03:30pm

@anil sahu

The resolution never brought a solution for the past 6 decades,I am sure hoping on the resolution to bring solution is foolhardy

Harmony-1© Feb 23, 2016 03:31pm

@Alladitti - Pakistan has taken the right step but you still seem to have problem?

Pankaj Feb 23, 2016 03:50pm

There is a head quarter of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan where its is banned by government???? !!!!!!

timetostopthis Feb 23, 2016 03:57pm

@ZAK It looks like the positive impact of the environment you are living in is finally beginning to change your way of thinking in a good way.

timetostopthis Feb 23, 2016 04:03pm

@DelhiDude Both the governments need to work together to eliminate terrorism from the region.

Harmony-1© Feb 23, 2016 04:24pm

@timetostopthis - Yes, definitely both governments need to work together. Mistrust and policies of accusations and counteractions have been detrimental.

Saad Qureshi Feb 23, 2016 04:31pm

True need of the hour is for the two nations to stop playing dangerous games. Terrorists have to go.

atif Feb 23, 2016 04:41pm

Destroy all factions that may cause a war between us and India.. peace and progress is all we want...cannot stand these people! they disgust me to the core.

Maqsood Feb 23, 2016 04:41pm

very sad.

atif Feb 23, 2016 04:44pm

@Amit feeling is mutual hope elements within India are also held accountable for messing up situation inside Pakistan at times. remember it takes 2 to tango..tali ek haat se nai bajti.. .. and inside your heart you know its true.. love from across the border!!

Cosmo Feb 23, 2016 05:00pm

@Khalid Khan Samjhota is India's internal issue and the culprits are behind the bars.

sreekanth Feb 23, 2016 05:05pm

Nice report from Dawn. Thank you!

Abbas naqvi Feb 23, 2016 05:06pm

Pathankot episode can make it or break it. If it ends well, it can inject some trust and confidence in the two countries' relations especially in fighting terrorism. But if it fails, it can create another dent in our ties with India. Pathankot may prove blessing in disguise or otherwise. For once, the two nuclear nations can feel the benefits of working together in defeating terrorism, their common enemy.Though delicate, but the path to peace can be covered with courage and commitment. The Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in Washington next month. The resolution of Pathankot issue will provide them better ground to work for the resolution of other issues and bring peace and prosperity to their people.

timetostopthis Feb 23, 2016 05:07pm

@Harmony-1© You are absolutely right. The policy of mistrust between the two countries has only benefited the terrorists. Time to come together to work against a common enemy.

M. Siddique Feb 23, 2016 05:12pm

How this number was connected? Did Indians provide the number in an e-mail or phone which received the call, was provided? All intelligence agencies know that number. Let us make sure Indians are not setting up something.

Moreover, we should eliminate Jaish group anyway to get them out of extremism business.

Steve Boston Feb 23, 2016 05:19pm

@Shujaat Khan You totally missed the point, the phone traced to JEM headquarters. If your employer uses your phone for illegal activities it your company who is responsible not you. So it is the JEM head.

Alam Feb 23, 2016 05:31pm

Calls traced to Jaish HQ. Pakistan team going to India for Investigation. They need to ascertain who made the call because the courts will need evidence to prove that the hand phone found really belong to the terrorists and further that these calls were really made by the terrorists. From day one India claiming that the terrorists made called to Jaish HQ. So Indian investigators also know the contact number of Jaish HQ. To make case against Jaish these questions need to be answered as defence lawyer will put up these questions.

SardarSuri Feb 23, 2016 05:41pm

So now what is Pakistan going to do about this? How about dismantling the terror group and killing and/or arresting the terrorists and their supporters. This is what needs to be done.

atif Feb 23, 2016 06:47pm

can mr sartaj aziz also inform us as to how the organization banned since 2002, is still operating their headquarters with impunity? that too in the province under government of the party mr aziz belongs to

seems that the only competence required for any high position in nawaz cabinet is 'incompetency'

atif Feb 23, 2016 06:51pm

@Rajesh rajesh, to clap we need to hands, y not india punishes those involved in samjhota express

VILAS Feb 23, 2016 06:54pm

One small step forward...... Can there be a mechanism to fast track the investigation & conclusion fairly.

yogi Feb 23, 2016 07:09pm

@rehan In samjotha ex. Incident, justice has already been served.

Markandey Feb 23, 2016 07:31pm

Protective custody? A dangerous man needs 'restrictive custody' so that he does not cause any more terror attacks, not Protective custody.

kranti Feb 23, 2016 07:52pm

This shows India always told truth...

Last Word Feb 23, 2016 08:01pm

What matters is the follow up action which will be closely scrutinised by India.

Alam Feb 23, 2016 08:08pm

@Last Word ...it is Pakistani Investigation team going to India to scrutinise

Madan Feb 23, 2016 09:31pm

A welcome step.

Shujaat Khan Feb 23, 2016 10:57pm

@Steve Boston

Steve you missed the point that I was being sarcastic.

Divergence Feb 23, 2016 11:22pm

@Khalid Khan They will never admit that they did it, so forget about expecting some cooperation in return from India.

M.Saeed Feb 24, 2016 12:06am

@Gurjeet singh : Be your own judge !

Mustafa R. Feb 24, 2016 12:14am

How difficult is it to makeup some fraudulent phone records in India or Pakistan?

Zulfiqar Feb 24, 2016 02:36am

Dear Indian friends! Try to be honest and accept the ground reality that Jammu & Kashmir is disputed land and it is recognised by United Nations and UN resolutions are still active. India can delay but cannot deprive Kashmiris from Independence for centuries. If indians need peaceful & quality life, leave J&K.

hyat Feb 24, 2016 03:09am

what about charsada and APS phone calls?

lafanga Feb 24, 2016 03:42am

Either JeM is really dumb to give the terrorists cell phone number registered to their headquarters or India is just throwing stuff on the wall hoping for something to stick.

Take your pick.

Rational Feb 24, 2016 04:51am

They got into Pathankoth and made a call to Pak and that too number registered to Jaish headoffice. Then they leave the phone with number on it with Indian security officials to press redial.. Even Indian movies have better stories than this immature one .

LS Feb 25, 2016 05:33am

@M. Ahmed Using Today's technology it is also possible to check if the Caller ID was changed mid-way. Please grow up.

Anonymous Feb 25, 2016 07:55am

@Rational I work in security. In 2004, there was a device that can track all ongoing calls in a given area without even connected to telephone network but just sniffing airwaves and spectrum. It would record from number, to number and other technical details. This is called digital forensics. Technology is much more advanced now. The terrorists never knew that even broken phones can be examined and extracted.

Rational Feb 25, 2016 08:18am

@Anonymous ... Good point but how do you know that terrorist don't know about this technology?

rehan Feb 25, 2016 11:14am

@Arun-KS We don't pay attention to India anyway.

rehan Feb 25, 2016 11:21am

Pakistan did well to carry out an impartial investigation. It's quite obvious that Indians were expecting Pakistan to deny the allegation and hence providing a very strong reason for India to follow it's "fight terrorists with terrorists" policy. Speaking of which , I wonder whatever happened to the BKU terrorist attack for which the funding was traced to an Indian Consulate in Afghanistan.

rehan Feb 25, 2016 11:52am

Well played, Pakistan !

Anon Feb 25, 2016 01:43pm

@atif Samjhota culprits are in jail for past many years and haven't seen the light of the day since.

Casual observer Feb 26, 2016 12:08pm

@rehan the samjautha express culprits are in jail.not repeat not in protective custody and guests of the administration