Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the terrorist attack on Indian Air Force base in Pathankot has slowed down the peace process between the two countries. He reiterated his government’s commitment towards the probe and said that Pakistan will go to any extent to uncover the alleged use of its soil in the attack which is suspected to be carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists. “It is our responsibility to uncover if our soil was used in the attack. We will do this and the ongoing investigations will soon be completed,” he said.
Earlier in January, India and Pakistan deferred their foreign secretary-level talks to “very near future.” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar was scheduled to travel to Islamabad to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary but both the countries announced deferment of the talks with “mutual consent” to “very near future”.
Sharif said the ongoing investigations will soon be completed and the findings will be made public thereafter.
“Terrorists were being defeated and in desperation, they were carrying out isolated acts to make their presence felt,” he said, promising to go to “any length” to bring them “to book”. The Modi government has perceived Sharif’s comments positively and has accepted that his hands were tied due to domestic pressures. According to officials, the statement of Sharif conveys his intention of improving bilateral relations between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that none of the ‘suspects’ arrested in connection with the attack have been charged.
Asked about JeM’s role in the attack, Sanaullah said: “The investigation team is also probing this.”
Pakistan’s Daily Times, in an editorial on Saturday, noted 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”.
Sharif had formed a six-member committee to investigate the attack in which seven security personnel were killed.
The attack took place a week after PM Modi’s unannounced trip to Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif’s home in Lahore to signal the willingness at the top to revive ties between the two countries.