India will formally ask Pakistan to arrest terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad’s chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother Rauf for the Pathankot airbase attack case after a court issued arrest warrants for them on Friday.
The special National Investigation Agency court in Punjab’s Mohali also issued arrest warrants for Kashif Jaan and Shahid Latif, considered to be the handlers of the Pathankot attackers.
“We had approached the court in this regard a few days back,” said a senior NIA official.
The arrest warrants came a day after Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit said talks with India were suspended and hinted that the NIA probe team - that is scheduled to go to Pakistan - will not be allowed access to Azhar.
The official added that the warrants will now be shared with Pakistan by sending another letter rogatory or a court-approved request for assistance in probe.
The arrest warrants will also strengthen India’s case in the United Nations Security Council for putting Masood Azhar under the sanction regime of the world body.
Six militants infiltrated the strategic Pathankot air base in January, killing seven soldiers and forcing a new low in troubled bilateral ties between the two countries.
Pakistan has repeatedly said there isn’t enough evidence against Azhar. An Indian move to designate Azhar a terrorist at the UN security council was blocked by Islamabad’s ally Beijing recently.