Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday reviewed Pakistan’s progress in acting on information provided by India on the Pathankot attack even as Islamabad pushed for a sustained dialogue in the wake of the terrorist assault that has cast a shadow on a planned meeting of the foreign secretaries.
The meeting in Islamabad, which was also attended by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ISI chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to cooperate with India to “completely eradicate” terrorism.
The Pathankot attack had figured in another meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his top aides on Thursday but the issue was overshadowed by the Saudi Arabian foreign minister’s visit to seek Pakistan’s support in the ongoing diplomatic row with Iran.
The commitment to cooperate with India in tackling terrorism, made in a statement issued by Sharif’s office, appeared to be aimed at ensuring that a planned meeting of the foreign secretaries on January 15 is not put off because of the attack on the Pathankot airbase, blamed on the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The statement contained several assurances that appeared to be aimed at assuaging India, which on Thursday linked the talks between the foreign secretaries to “prompt and decisive action” by Pakistan against the perpetrators of the attack.
“In line with Pakistan’s commitment to effectively counter and eradicate terrorism, the meeting reviewed the progress made on the information provided by the government of India,” the statement said, without giving details of what progress had been made.
“The meeting expressed the confidence that building on the goodwill generated by the recent high level contacts, the two countries would remain committed to a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue process,” it said.
The statement reiterated Pakistan’s 2004 commitment about not allowing its soil to be used for terrorism directed at India. “The people of Pakistan have evolved a political consensus for action against all terrorists and terrorist organisations without any distinction, and have resolved that no terrorist would be allowed to use Pakistan’s soil for committing terrorism anywhere in the world,” it said.
Pakistan repeated its condemnation of the Pathankot attack and the statement said the country’s “entire leadership and institutions were working in complete harmony to counter terrorism and extremism” – an indication that the powerful army was on board.
Besides the army and ISI chiefs, the meeting was also attended by interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz, national security adviser Nasser Janjua, foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and the director general of military operations.
India’s demand for action against the JeM had also figured at a meeting of corps commanders chaired by army chief Gen Sharif on Wednesday, sources said..