India has identified the mastermind behind the terror attack on the Pathankot air force base in Punjab state, bordering Pakistan. Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), along-with his brother Rauf and five others have been blamed for carrying out the attack, that left all six terrorists and seven Indian soldiers killed.
India has shared this information along with two Pakistani phone numbers that were made calls to by the terrorists. India has called on Islamabad to act on the information if the foreign secretary-level talks are to take place as scheduled on 15 January.
According to the Times of India, after entering India, the terrorists made calls to Pakistani phone numbers 92-3017775253 and +92 3000597212. The first number possibly belongs to the mother of one of the terrorists, while the other one was used by one of the handlers in Pakistan. The terrorists reportedly made the calls from the cellphones of the victims of the terror attack.
"The terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase has once again put renewed focus on the challenge posed by cross-border terrorism. The ball is in now Pakistan's court. The immediate issue in front of us is Pakistan's response to the terrorist attack," India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
On 7 January, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with his ministers and intelligence officers to review the information, which was conveyed by India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjhua. Meanwhile, India is trying to identify the six terrorists with the call details of the two phone numbers. Indian intelligence services have also found that the ammunitions used by the terrorists were made in Pakistan.
The terror attack began on 2 January, and three days later the Indian army was carrying out combing operations as one of the terrorists was still hiding inside the 2,000-acre air force base in Pathankot. He was later gunned down by security personnel.
The attack on the air force base came just a week after India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Lahore to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif.