Non-bailable arrest warrants were issued on Friday against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf and two other handlers in the Pathankot terror attack by a special court of the National Investigation Agency in Mohali, PTI reported. The handlers were identified as Kashif Jaan and Shahid Latif.
The court issued the warrants after taking into account the evidence presented before it by the NIA, including a conversation over the phone between the terrorists and their handlers, as well as a video uploaded on a website hosted in Pakistan in which Rauf claims responsibility for the attack. The website has since been taken down.
The non-bailable warrants will be sent to Interpol. An Interpol Red Corner notice – the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant that is used at present – is pending against Azhar for his alleged involvement in the 2001 Parliament attack and the strike on the Jammu and Kashmir state Assembly. A notice against Rauf, too, is pending in connection with the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999.
The warrants come a week after the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team visited India as part of its probe into the attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot. Since the January 2 attack, India has maintained that the Pakistan-based JeM terror outfit was behind it and demanded Azhar’s arrest. The JIT was formed on the direction of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Following its visit to India, a report in Pakistan Today quoted an unnamed member of the team saying that India had staged the incident.