Sharif forms high-level team to probe Pathankot links with Pak

India’s and US pressure seems to have worked in Pakistan establishment

GN Bureau | January 11, 2016



Pakistani prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered a high-profile joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the links of the Pathankot airbase attackers with Pakistan. The assault has thrown into doubt diplomatic talks planned for later this month.

Meanwhile, India’s , national security adviser Ajit Doval said on Monday that the foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan won't happen if Pakistan does not act against the Pathankot attack masterminds.

The foreign secretary-level talks are scheduled for January 15.

The JIT comprises officials from Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI).

In a pre-dawn attack on January 2, a group of heavily armed Pakistani terrorists, suspected to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.

Indian intelligence reports suggested that groups and people in Pakistan planned and executed the strike.

India has provided "specific and actionable information in this regard" to Pakistan.

The evidence is said to include some voice recordings and the cellular phone numbers of the attackers' handlers which were traced to Pakistan.

Sharif has assured leaders from India and the US that Pakistan will investigate the matter and make the results public.

On the foreign secretary-level talks, Doval has said that it won't happen if Pakistan does not act against the Pathankot attack masterminds. In an interview with NDTV, Doval said that India "will talk only if Pakistan takes action".

Nawaz Sharif’s JIT decision comes on the back of an assurance given to the US. The Pakistan prime minister has told US secretary of state John Kerry that his country is swiftly investigating who was behind the attack on an Indian air force base, and that it would "bring out the truth".

 Kerry, speaking to Sharif by telephone, said he hoped the attack would not derail the talks that he said were in the interests of regional security, according to a statement from the Pakistani prime minister's office late on Saturday.

"The prime minister told Secretary Kerry that we are swiftly carrying out investigations in a transparent manner and will bring out the truth," it said. "The world will see our effectiveness and sincerity in this regard."

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