Published On: Thu, Jan 14th, 2016

Indo-Pak Foreign Secy-level talks deferred

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The Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary- level talks will not take place as scheduled here tomorrow, Pakistan said on Thursday, 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 on Wednesday 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 FS-level talks could take place as planned with India linking “prompt and decisive” action by Pakistan to the parleys

On Wednesday, Pakistan detained “several individuals” of the JeM apart from sealing some of their offices in an apparent bid to get the talks going

India on Wednesday 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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