NEW DELHI: On a day when 26/11 attack plotter David Headley indicted Pakistani State actors for the Mumbai terror attacks, an investigation team formed by the Nawaz Sharif government gave a clean chit to Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar in the Pathankot terrorist attack case.
According to reports in Pakistani media, the investigators termed evidence provided by India insufficient and claimed that some lower-rung members of the Jaish could be behind the fidayeen attack on the Indian airbase last month.
The Express Tribune said the Pakistani authorities had conveyed to New Delhi that “there was no substantial evidence that could prove the involvement of Maulana Masood Azhar in the Pathankot assault.”
The clean chit to Azhar has rattled the Indian security establishment that was looking for stringent action against the Jaish and its chief. There is also a view among officials that Pakistan may not take any action against terrorist organisations it had raised for waging a proxy war against India.
“India had provided the crucial leads to Pakistan. Since the evidence against Masood Azhar and Jaish-e-Mohammed is with Pakistan, they should have investigated it thoroughly. It’s a complete U-turn by Pakistan on promises made in the Pathankot case,” a senior official said. Azhar had threatened to carry out fidayeen attacks if the Pakistani government arrests him and close down Jaish’s terror infrastructure. Azhar, intelligence reports have indicated, has prepared hundreds of suicide bombers, including women, for such terrorist attacks. One of Azhar’s transcripts intercepted by intelligence agencies reads, “My sisters, don’t listen to Narendra Modi, who is saying terrorism is bad. Don’t listen to Obama, who is saying that jihadis are anti-national elements. Promote jihad in your house, participate in jihad and if you die you will attain heaven.”
An official said Pakistan had raided only some selected terror training camps and madrasas to show the world that it was cracking down on terrorists. “Now, after Headley’s statement in the Mumbai court and disclosures, the international community should pressure Pakistan to act against the terrorists organisations on its soil,” the official added.