Interpol earlier yesterday issued a fresh ‘Red Notice’ for Masood Azhar, chief of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit as well as his brother in connection with the attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot in January.
The warrants were issued after India’s National Investigation Agency had managed to secure ‘open ended’ non-bailable warrants against Azhar and Abdul Rauf, the popular Indian daily The Hindu reported.
At least seven Indian soldiers were killed when four militants had stormed the base in early January. India had blamed the JeM and its chief for orchestrating the attacks.
This is not the first Interpol notice against Azhar, 48. A similar notice was issued in 2002 for his alleged involvement in the attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly. A warrant is also pending against 41-year-old Rauf in connection with the IC-814 hijacking case from 1999.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that organisations like Jamaatud Dawa and JeM are now banned and are not allowed to conduct any activities.
In an interview to BBC Urdu, he said that legal action against these organisations is not possible since the state is itself involved in these affairs.
“When the state itself has been involved in a matter, how action can be taken on that basis against such banned organisations.” However, Sanaullah rejected as baseless the allegation on his government of tolerating extremism in the province and said the impression that south Punjab was the hotbed of sectarianism is incorrect.
“After [Operation] Zarb-e-Azb, our political and military leadership clarified their stance that Pakistani soil will not be allowed to be used against any neighbouring country, even if it is in pursuance of helping them or in favour of their right to self-determination, will not be acceptable.’