This Article is From Feb 29, 2016

Pathankot Attack: Pak Team Likely To Visit India Soon, Sartaj Aziz

Pathankot Attack: Pak Team Likely To Visit India Soon, Sartaj Aziz

The attack of Pathankot air base led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. (File photo)

Washington: A Pakistani team probing the Pathankot terror attack may visit India in the next few days, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz said today and expressed hope that the Foreign Secretary-level talks will be scheduled very soon after that.

"It is unfortunate that the agreement on resuming the dialogue process was disrupted by the attack on Pathankot Airbase on January 2. Pakistan has taken some important steps in the aftermath of the Pathankot incident," Mr Aziz said in his opening remarks to the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue.

"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called the Indian Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) immediately after the attack and assured of Pakistan's support in the investigation. National Security Advisers are maintaining frequent contacts," he said.

"Case has been registered and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is likely to visit India in the next few days. We therefore hope that the Foreign Secretary level-talks will be scheduled very soon," Mr Aziz said during the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue which he co-chaired with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

As an important part of Sharif Government's policy of peaceful neighbourhood, Islamabad has reached out to India, he noted.

"We believe that the resolution of all outstanding issues - including the Kashmir dispute - is possible through resumption of full-scale and uninterrupted dialogue with India. We had also proposed a mechanism to address our respective concerns on terrorism," Mr Aziz said.

A six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up by Pakistan government for the initial probe into the January 2 attack based on the leads given by India.

Three men arrested for their alleged role in the attack were sent to a six-day police remand by an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala city of Punjab on Saturday.

The FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police has been lodged on the basis of information provided by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that four attackers crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase.

The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. Since then, no date has been fixed for the talks.

Mr Aziz said the Indian participation in the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad last December and announcement to start the Comprehensive Dialogue were positive developments that augur well for peace and stability in South Asia.

"Prime Minister Modi's visit to Islamabad was welcomed by most in Pakistan. Here, I would like to express our gratitude to you and President (Barack) Obama for your consistent support to the revival of Pakistan-India Dialogue," Aziz said in his opening remarks, which was open to the press.

Mr Aziz said instead of being viewed through lenses borrowed from East or West, Pakistan must be afforded its own strategic space.

"We believe we have earned this over a history of result-oriented relationship," he claimed. The Pakistani Government, he stressed, is committed to act against all types of terrorist groups.

"Our strategy to eliminate the terrorist networks and defeat their extremist ideology is all-encompassing. We are focusing on three fronts that include both kinetic and non-kinetic actions," he said.