India identifies JeM chief Masood Azhar as ‘handler’ of Pathankot terror attack; plot hatched in Pakistan

New Delhi: In a shot in the arm for the Indian establishment, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar, and two others have been identified by the intelligence agencies as ‘handlers’ behind Pathankot airbase terror attack.

Other than Azhar and Rauf, the other two handlers are Ashfaq and Kashim, the sources said. Rauf was mastermind of hijack of Air India plane in Kathmandu, in 1999 which was later taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan. The eight-day hijack crisis had ended after release of three hardcore militants including Azhar in exchange for the freedom of passengers and crew members who were held hostage.

The news agency further reported that Pathankot airbase terror plot was hatched in Markaz in Pakistan.

The details of these four persons have been shared with Pakistan “through proper channel” and India has pressed for stern action against them as a condition for any future talks with Pakistan, the sources claimed.

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