India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks deferred

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016,14:03 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Islamabad | The India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary- level talks will not take place as scheduled here tomorrow, Pakistan said today, a development that comes in the wake of uncertainty created by the terror attack on the Pathankot air base. Pakistan also did not confirm the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, media reports over which India has some reservations.

Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said the FS-level talks tomorrow for which Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar was to travel will not take place as planned. He told a news briefing that both sides were holding consultations to reschedule the talks. To questions on the detention of Azhar, he said, I am not aware of any such arrest. I don’t have anything else apart from the statement issued by the PMO yesterday.

After a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the PMO had issued a statement yesterday 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. Last night, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup had said India had not received any confirmation on media reports of detention of Azhar, who is believed to be the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack.

Ever since the terror attack on January 2, there have been doubts whether the foreign secretary level talks could take place as planned with India linking prompt and decisive action by Pakistan to the parleys. Yesterday, Pakistan detained several individuals of the JeM apart from sealing some of their offices in an apparent bid to get the talks going. India yesterday deferred a decision on the talks apparently because of lack of confirmation on Azhar’s arrest. There is speculation that the NSAs of the two countries may meet before the FS-level talks.

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