Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday said that the government has arrested several members of the Jaish-i-Mohammad militant group that India suspects of being involved in this month’s attack of an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab.
In a statement, PM Nawaz Sharif office also said that his government wants to send a team of special investigators to Pathankot for further investigation, in consultation with the Indian government.
In the 2 January attack, seven Indian military personnel were killed and 20 were wounded. The attackers were also killed in the battle with the Indian Army.
The statement from the Pakistan PMO was issued after a high-level meeting was chaired by Nawaz Sharif to discuss the country’s security situation.
The PMO statement further elaborated that Jaish-i-Mohammad offices in the country were being traced and sealed.
News of the arrests comes two days before a meeting between the foreign secretaries is scheduled to take place in Islamabad, though there were unconfirmed reports on Wednesday that the meeting might be postponed in the absence of confirmation of the said meeting by the Indian government.
“The meeting expressed national resolve not to allow our territory to be used for acts of terrorism anywhere,” the Pakistan PMO statement said.
It was also noted that “considerable progress” has been made in the investigations, being carried out against terrorist elements reportedly linked to the Pathankot incident.
“In the spirit of the cooperative approach, it was also decided that in order to carry the process forward, additional information would be required, for which the Government of Pakistan is considering to send a Special Investigation Team to Pathankot, in consultation with the Government of India,” it said.
“The meeting reiterated that in line with our decision to counter and completely eliminate terrorism, Pakistan would remain engaged with India on this issue,” the statement said.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, National Security Advisor retired Lt General Nasir Khan Janjua, Personal Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, DG ISI Rizwan Akhter and other high officials were present in the meeting .
Nawaz Sharif had earlier assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Islamabad would not hesitate to take “prompt and decisive action” if the involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the attack on the Indian airbase was proved beyond doubt.
Later, in a high-level meeting, presided by Nawaz Sharif and attended by General Raheel Sharif, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to cooperate with India on the Pathankot incident. The attack threatened to undermine the two countries’ fragile peace process.
Indian Air Force’s Pathankot airbase is just 50 km from the Pakistan border, and is a major forward operational airbase of the IAF.