Pakistan Files Paperwork to Investigate Indian Air Base Attack

Amin Masoodi
160219-IN-pathankot-620 Indian soldiers take position on the perimeter of an air base in Pathankot, Jan. 4, 2016.

A Pakistani move to file a report against “unknown participants” in a deadly attack on an Indian air base is unlikely to end a diplomatic impasse between the two countries, analysts say.

Pakistan on Friday registered a First-Information Report (FIR), which is a step toward identifying and bringing to trial suspects linked to the Jan. 2 assault on the base in Pathankot, India.

Seven security personnel and a civilian died in the attack and subsequent fighting. All six suspected  Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants who carried it out were killed as well.

Foreign secretary level talks scheduled for Jan. 15 between India and Pakistan were postponed following the attack.

According to a New Delhi-based political analyst, India would insist that Pakistan carry out investigations to their logical end and arrest those who supported the attack.

“Registration of the case into the deadly attack will not help end the prevailing impasse between India and Pakistan – at least in the near future,” Imtiyaz Ahmad told BenarNews.

“India will insist on serious investigations to nail the culprits. Dialogue between the  two nations would not be initiated immediately as India will demand stern action against the culprits before resuming the dialogue,” he added.

At the request of Pakistan Deputy Home Secretary Aitzaz-ud-Din, the Punjab police counter terrorism department filed the FIR. “Murder, attempt to murder and terror charges were levelled against the suspected attackers,” News International reported.

A joint investigation team will trace the perpetrators of the attack so that they will be brought to trial under the law, Dawn newspaper quoted a police spokesman as saying.

“Pakistan will not allow non-state actors to use Pakistani soil to conspire terror attacks on other countries,” Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said, according to Dawn. “The case registered against attackers should dismiss doubts other countries have about Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate terrorism.”

Ahmad expressed pessimism that the FIR would bring about a serious investigation on the Pakistani side.

“After some time Pakistan will say nothing incriminating was found in investigations, and India will again insist for stern action,” Ahmad said. “Willingness for talks will be there on paper from both countries, but talks will not be initiated by either side ….”

Step forward

But a Srinagar-based political analyst said the two countries would gradually resume the peace process.

“This time Pakistan seems slightly more serious in carrying forward investigations into the recent terror attack and, more significantly, there are no panic reactions from India in response to the registration of the case by the Pakistan government,” Noor Mohammad Baba told BenarNews.

“The latest development may not help end the prevailing deadlock over night between two countries. Also they may not be able to move forward with the same frequency they moved sometime earlier,” he added.


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