With India linking peace talks with Pakistan to action over the recent terror attack on Pathankot air base, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday ordered a probe into the leads provided by New Delhi about the attack.
As both India and Pakistan realise that it’s time for them to work together to shrink the space for all brands of terrorists, Prime Minister Sharif has held two high-level meetings with his officials in the last 48 hours to review his government’s action plan.
A day after chairing a meeting with senior officials on Thursday to discuss the recent attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) air base, the Pak PM asked the concerned authorities in Islamabad to immediately launch investigations into the evidence received from India. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, the premier’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, National Security Adviser (NSA) Lieutenant General (Retired) Nasser Khan Janjua, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) Aftab Sultan and other officials attended Thursday’s meeting. On Friday, Sharif held a second high-level meeting that was attended by Pak Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, some senior ministers, NSA Janjua and a senior officer of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – the intelligence agency of Pakistan. During Friday’s meeting, the PM once again expressed confidence that the two neighbouring country would remain committed to “sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue” building on the goodwill generated by him through meetings with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
A senior Pakistani official told the media that the premier called the first meeting soon after a top Indian High Commission official handed over the leads to IB Chief Sultan for further action. During the meeting, Sharif said that as Pakistan decided to boost co-operation with India as part of its counterterrorism efforts, the government would take necessary actions against terror outfits for carrying out anti-India activities. The PM also asked NSA Janjua to remain in contact with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval in an attempt to keep renewed bilateral dialogue on track after the terror attack on IAF air base.
Meanwhile, another Pakistani official stressed that the information provided by India was “not enough”, as the Indian investigators mentioned only some telephone numbers. According to him, Islamabad might also ask New Delhi to send additional information and help the Pakistani authorities take proper action against terror outfits active in the country.
In India, two serving IAF personnel at the Pathankot air base have been arrested for their alleged link with terrorists. Preliminary investigation suggests that Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists knew their way around in Pathankot and they did not need directions to the air base or to their point of entry on the 1,600-acre campus. They struck at the Defence Security Corps’ (DSC) mess at the base, taking the security forces unawares, and survived on food stored in the mess. Indian investigators are of the opinion that the huge ammunition build up at the base allowed terrorists to engage security forces for more then two days. As the terrorists managed to hide and hit with ease within the air base, lying low during the day and targeting the security forces at night, the most important point is that they had not been expected to enter the air base with such ease.