Rajnath Singh to visit Pakistan for Home Ministers meet

Home minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Islamabad on August 3 to take part in a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Interior and Home Ministers’ Conference. It will be the first visit by a senior Indian leader to Pakistan post the Pathankot terror attack.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other senior officers of the Home Ministry will accompany Rajnath Singh. It has been reported that Singh will raise issues like Pakistan’s continuous support to cross border terrorism. A number of provocative remarks by some influencial leaders of Pakistan gave rise to a bitter relationship between the neighbours. Following the killing of Burhan Wani, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif remarked that Kashmir will one day become Pakistan.
Singh will also raise issues relating to slow pace of Pathankot terror attack probe. The meeting will look into issues like fighting terrorism, illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and how to make coordinated efforts to combat such menace.
The meeting will also focus on strengthening networking among police authorities member-countries and also make imrpovements on information-sharing among law enforcement agencies.

3 suspects of Pathankot Air Base attack arrested in Pakistan

Pakistani authorities arrested three suspects involved in Pathankot air base attacks.

“Anti-Terrorism Court No 2 Judge Bushra Zaman on Saturday granted six-day physical remand of three suspects said to be involved in the Pathankot airbase attack and handed them over to the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD),” a report in Dawn said.

Khalid Mahmood, Irshadul Haque and Muhammad Shoaib were caught 70 km away from Lahore. They were staying in a rented house. Authorities said that, they were taken to an undisclosed location. They are suspected of being facilitators of the attack.

A week before this incidence, Pakistani authorities had set up a joint investigation team(JIT) which took control over the probe. It was a five member team. After formally registering the case, JIT replaced special investigation team. The case is filed based on the information given by Indian national security advisor Ajit Doval to his Pakistani counterpart.

JIT is led by counter terrorism unit officer. After making the arrests, next month he would be coming to Pathankot air base for further investigation after the permission granted by Indian security forces.

Source: NDTV


Budget session begins, PM Modi hopeful of a fruitful session

The Budget session of the Parliament began on Tuesday and is all set for a stormy start as discussions on the JNU case and suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula has been scheduled on 24th, which is the first working day of the Parliament.

President Pranab Mukherjee, while addressing both the houses ahead of the budget session, listed out various achievements of the BJP government and said that the Parliament reflects the supreme will of people and democratic temper calls for debate & discussion and not disruption or obstruction.

Post the two all-party meetings held by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, the Opposition accused the government for “setting the agenda for disruption” even before the session began.

PM Modi, while addressing the media in a customary practice ahead of the Parliament session, said that he was hopeful of a ‘fruitful session’ and ‘constructive debates’. Describing the Opposition parties as “friends”, he said that they have been showing positive attitude and the whole country and the world is paying attention to the budget session.

Further, Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha said that no contentious bills should be brought to the table and only bills on which there is a general agreement should be allowed. He also stated that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill would not come in the first half of the session and that a view could be taken on the fate of the bill by the second half.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, however, said that the meetings with the Opposition were very positive and that they were in favour of smooth functioning of the Parliament. He also reiterated that the government was open to discussion on any issue, whether it is JNU, Pathankot terror attack, Hyderabad Central University issue or even the Jat reservation stir.

The government has a legislative agenda of 32 items for the session, out of which 11 bills are pending in the upper house and one in Lok Sabha.

Sources: The Hindu, Indianexpress

NIA report can be taken as the first concrete indication of an insider role in the Pathankot attack

New Delhi: With the National Investigation Agency (NIA) escalating its prod into possible part of an insider element in the Pathankot attack, the security agencies’ worst fears could soon come true. As per investigations, it has been come to view that concertina wire atop the 10-ft boundary of the airbase was possibly cut from inside the wall. On seeing wire just after the attack had aroused doubt that it was not the terrorists, but possibly an associate inside who committed the act. The fact that the light at the location was not functioning only confirms the location was deliberately chosen by those who had prior information that the area would be dark.

As per sources in the NIA, a “massive work“was undertaken to examine whether any insider had helped the terrorists get into the base before the attack. In the process of getting information about enemy forces about the route taken to reach the airbase was probed; and if individuals within the airbase had helped the terrorists’ entry towards this end, the security agency is sifting through records of calls made from the airbase. Individuals keeping a watch on the external periphery on the day of the attack or just earlier to it, as well as the Pathankot airbase residents are being questioned to recollect any doubtful actions near the spot from where the terrorists made an entry.

The spot from where the enemy force crossed the outer periphery of the airbase was next to a firing range. The attacker hid in the opening between the raised embankment and the boundary wall, which ensured that the terrorists were not visible from the nearest post.

An IS suspect, has been sent on two days’ transit remand by a court in Bhopal for his production before a special court in New Delhi.  Sixteen people were detained by the NIA on December 9, 2015, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Source: Timesofindia.com

Pathankot attack led to disruption of IndoPak talks, says Nawaz Sharif

The atrocious attacks carried out in Pathankot has left India severely bruised. The Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, feels that this is the major reason for slowing down of the peace talks between both the neighboring countries. This is the first time that he has made such a comment in the public eye.

After the attacks, the Indian and Pakistani Government had to postpone their diplomatic talks till January end. Sharif also highlighted that if  the Pathankot attacks would not have happened, there were positive signs from both sides which pointed that talks from between the countries would continue.

On Saturday, Pakistan’s Daily Times, in their editorial mentioned that the Pathankot attack had come “just as the two sides had groped their way back to the negotiating table after initial aggressive intent was on display from the (Narendra) Modi government”.

The Indian forces had retaliated  during the attacks and taken quick action against the perpetrators. It then shared “ actionable” evidence against Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar with the Pakistan government. There were reports which suggested Masood’s detention.

The Pakistani PM, later held high level bureaucratic meetings to probe into the matter. During the probe they assured that the infiltrators would be punished severely and that they would not hesitate to act if anyone was found guilty.

The Pathankot attacks involved 6 terrorists who brutally killed 7 Indian Air force personnel, earlier this month.

Source: TOI

Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries meeting likely to be held in February first week

The meeting between the foreign secretaries of Indian and Pakistan is expected to be held in the second week of February,  in Islamabad.The main agenda of the meeting will be to finalize the modalities for a comprehensive bilateral.

As per a Pakistani official, both the countries are in continuous touch with each other regarding the final talks and the dates would be announced soon after a mutual agreement. He also said they are trying to fix the meeting,  keeping in mind other preoccupations of both foreign secretaries, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and his counterpart S Jaishankar from India.

India has blamed Pakistani based terror group Jaish e Mohammed(JeM) for attacking Pathankot air base on 2nd January  and has asked PM Nawaz sharif to take appropriate action against the terror group and its chief Masood Azhar. India has also provided evidence about JeM’s alleged involvement in the attack.

Following the evidence provided by India , the Pakistan government clamped down on JeM and also sealed several seminaries intergrated with the outlawed group. Due to pressure from the Indian government, Pakistan has also formed a team to investigate and cross check the credibility of the evidence provided by the Indian investigation team.

According to the Pakistani official, an announcement has been made but the dates for visiting India by the Pakistan’s investigation team has not been finalized by the government yet. “The team would first present its findings to the government which would later decide the date of the visit”, the official said.

Source- TimesofIndia

Driver of missing taxi from Pathankot found dead

Ahead of French President Hollande’s visit for Republic Day, Delhi police alerted all security agencies in the wake of an incident over missing taxi.  As per reports three unidentified men hired the taxi in Pathankot. In mysterious circumstances, the driver of the taxi was found dead near Kangra in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday. Though the police has not been able to track the car and the missing persons, Delhi police from its official handle on twitter has published photos of the taxi and three unknown men.
On January 20th another vehicle of Inspector General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)  was stolen outside his residence from Noida sector-23 . The police is investigating the case though an alert has been issued.
“There is no need to panic but we urge people to stay alert. Citizens should inform the police control room if they see any suspicious activity around them,” said deputy commissioner of police Rajan Bhagat said.
Delhi police has already made India gate and its surrounding area as a no-vehicle zone considering terrorist threats from different agencies. NIA(National investigative Agency) is already conducting raids at different places across the country in search of suspected ISIS links.