Pak conducts raids, probe team has ISI
Even as India maintained its position that Foreign Secretary-level talks could not be held till Pakistan took ‘action’ against perpetrators of the Pathankot attack, the government of the neighbouring nation today took a series of steps in that direction.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising officials of the Military Intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau to investigate the leads provided by India and to take action against the perpetrators.
Raids were conducted in Gujranwala, Jhelum and Bahawalpur districts, leading to some arrests.
With the Foreign Secretaries scheduled to meet in Islamabad on January 15, it is clear Pakistan is making an effort to redeem the dialogue process. However, sources within the government maintained that talks could not happen unless Pakistan took action. Today’s developments notwithstanding, the sources said that India wanted to see action against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Masood Azhar, who is believed to have masterminded the Pathankot attack. Sources said India would be closely watching the developments over the next few days.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today went to Home Minister Rajnath Singh's residence and is understood to have discussed the issue. However, there was no official word on the meeting that lasted 20 minutes. It is reliably learnt that the National Security Advisers of the two countries continue to be in touch.
The meeting chaired by the Pakistan PM to form the JIT was attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Sources confirmed that Army Chief Raheel Sharif had also been kept in the loop by the Nawaz Sharif government.
Meanwhile, Rajindar Sachar, Chief Justice (retd), today said the India-Pakistan talks should go ahead despite the Pathankot attack. “Pathankot must not be allowed to postpone Foreign Secretary-level meetings between India and Pakistan. The open public trust between India and Pakistan, spoken of both by Modi and Nawaz Sharif meeting at Lahore, should not be allowed to go waste, notwithstanding the provocative Pathankot incident by terrorists coming from across the border,” said Sachar.