ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies have arrested around a dozen people from different cities of southern Punjab on suspicion of their links with terrorists who attacked Indian airbase in Pathankot earlier this month.
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According to a spokesman for Prime Minister Office, Islamabad has decided to share the development with Indian side and send a top level investigation team to New Delhi to further look into the matter.
A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was informed on Wednesday that the banned outfit, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), which allegedly conducted Pathankot attack were secretly operating in four cities of Punjab.
The offices in Bahwalnagar, Bahawalpur, Multan and Muzafargarh have been sealed and the suspected members have been arrested, top officials briefed the premier.
The meeting which was also attended by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, DG Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhter, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (r) Nasir Janjua and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, was told that the arrested people could be possible facilitators of Pathankot attackers.
The participants of meeting agreed that Pakistan would continue acting against terrorists and none of militant groups would be treated with discrimination.
“Islamabad will now approach New Delhi to exchange more information about the attackers and their link in Pakistan and the matter would be taken to a logical finding,” the statement added.
The development comes just two days ahead of a meeting between foreign secretaries of two countries, who will lay down a road map of resumption of comprehensive dialogue between Pakistan and India in Islamabad on January 15.
Reports by Indian media suggested that New Delhi had clearly conveyed to Islamabad that they will hold any such meeting only if Pakistan would take some serious action against the alleged militants who had links with the attackers of Pathankot airbase.
The reports also published two phone numbers that were in contact with the attackers from Pakistan, but sources said none of the numbers was registered in Pakistan.
A special team of Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) was investigating the Pakistani connection with the terrorist attack in coordination with other superior investigation agencies like Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).
The IB was instructed to look into the evidences provided by Indian government in connection with Pathankot airbase attack after New Delhi hinted at cancellation of January 15 meeting of foreign secretaries of two countries if Islamabad fails to move on terrorist attack probe.
PM Nawaz also directed the foreign office officials and his adviser on national security to stay in contact with Indian authorities to continuously exchange information in this regard.
Meanwhile, Washington was also pressing the two countries to continue bilateral dialogue on all outstanding issues including the recent attack on Indian airbase in Pathankot.