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Islamabad to take prompt action if Pakistani element found in Pathanakot attack: Nawaz Sharif

06 January, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday that Islamabad would not hesitate to take “prompt and decisive action” if the involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the attack on an Indian airbase was proved beyond doubt.

“PM Nawaz Sharif assured PM Modi that his government would take prompt and decisive action against the terrorists,” the Indian Prime Minister’s office said in a press statement after Mr Sharif called Mr Modi from Colombo to condemn the weekend strike in Pathankot and convey Pakistan’s promise to act on the intelligence given by India about suspected handlers and the mastermind of the terrorist attack.

Unlike the Indian statement, the one issued by Mr Sharif’s office did not contain any explicit commitment about action on Islamabad’s part, but said: “Our (Pakistan) government is working on the leads and information provided by the Indian government. We would like to investigate the matter.”

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had earlier called his Pakistani opposite number, retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua, and shared with him the phone intercepts of the attackers and locations of the numbers they had called.

India alleges that the attack was carried out by militants affiliated with Jaish-e-Muhammad, a group banned by Pakistan.

During the telephonic conversation, Mr Modi called for “firm and immediate action” against those involved in the Pathankot strike.

“Specific and actionable information in this regard has been provided to Pakistan,” Mr Modi was quoted by the Indian external affairs ministry to have told Mr Sharif.

Pakistan is concerned that India could call off the proposed meeting between foreign secretaries of the two countries, which is expected to discuss the modalities and timetable for different meetings.

Unconfirmed but multiple sources have hinted that India has already conveyed to Pakistan that the Jan 15 meeting would only go ahead if Islamabad took “visible steps” against the elements suspected of being behind the Pathankot attack.

Various statements from Islamabad since the siege started on Saturday have emphasised the need for continuing the engagement that the two countries have embarked upon since their prime ministers met in Paris on Nov 30 on the sidelines of the summit on climate change.

Mr Sharif, while talking to Mr Modi, expressed a view that the attack was a ploy to derail the peace process they had initiated together.

According to a statement from Mr Sharif’s office, he was able to convince his counterpart that “cordial and cooperative relationship between the two countries can be the most appropriate response to the terrorists’ nefarious designs”.

Moreover, it said that both leaders agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. Mr Sharif acknowledged the “maturity” shown by India in its statements after the attack.

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