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No clarity on Indo-Pak talks on Friday yet

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With barely three days left for the proposed Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks in Islamabad, a clarity was yet to emerge today amid mounting suspense whether India will go ahead or postpone the parleys by a few weeks.

Government sources said today a decision was yet to be taken on India’s participation at the talks on Friday–as proposed by Pakistan.

Following the Pathankot terror attack, India had asked Pakistan to take “prompt and decisive” action against the terrorists behind the stike and linked it with the FS-level talks.

The sources said there was a possibility of postponing the talks by a few weeks.

After the attack, India had said it has provided to Pakistan actionable intelligence to act upon the perpetrators of the terrorist act. India has identified Masood Azhar, chief of banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, as the mastermind of the attack.

It also blamed his brother Rauf and five others for carrying out the attack on January 2 that left all six terrorists and seven Indian security personnel dead.

Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said India has no reason to distrust Pakistan’s assurance that it will take effective action on inputs given about the perpetrators of the attack.

“Pakistan government has said it will take effective action. I think we should wait,” Singh told reporters adding, “There is no reason to distrust them (Pakistan) so early.”

India has provided telephone number in Pakistan contacted by the airbase attackers and given other inputs. India has called on Islamabad to act on the information if the FS-level talks are to take place on Friday..

Yesterday, reports from Pakistan said law enforcement agencies have picked up “some suspects” connected to Pathankot attack from Bahwalapur district, the hometown of Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.

There were reports of “some arrests” having been made in this regard but police did not confirm any arrest related to the Pathankot attack.

The process of resumption of talks was set in motion after a meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of Climate Change Conference in Paris.

The meet was followed by the NSAs of India and Pakistan meeting in Bangkok a week later following which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan to attend Heart of Asia Conference during which the two sides announced the resumption of talks under “Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue” process.

In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited Lahore on December 25 to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.

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