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Pathankot attack: NIA set to prosecute JeM Chief Masood Azhar

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The Union Home Ministry on Monday accorded sanction to National Investigation Agency to file chargesheet against the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar and three others for the Pathankot terror attack in January this year. Seven security personnel were killed in the attack.

NIA had recently sought prosecution sanction against the JeM chief, his brother Abdul Rauf and two handlers involved in the attack.

A formal request was sent to Union ministry of home affairs seeking prosecution sanction under sections 18, 20 and 28 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Explosives Act and various sections of IPC, including murder, criminal conspiracy, waging war against India so that a chargesheet can be filed against them.

Officials say that NIA will now soon file a chargesheet against Azhar and these three claiming that “Azhar had hatched the conspiracy to attack strategic IAF base in Pathankot in first week of January 2016 with an intention to kill Air Force personnel and destroy the assets”.

India has been continuously making efforts to get the UN Sanctions Committee to Azhar and had submitted a dossier listing out his terror activities since 1993, which specifically mentioned him as one of the handlers of the Pathankot terrorists.

However, India has been facing a hurdle in the matter as China has collaborated with Pakistan to block New Delhi’s proposal to ban Masood Azhar.

Following the attack on the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot killing seven Indian military personnel, India called on the United Nations for immediate action to list Azhar under the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.

According to reports, 14 out of 15 countries were willing to designate Azhar but China alone decided to go against all the others in the bid.

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