ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday said the government wants to send a team of special investigators to the Pathankot air base in India for further investigation.
In a statement, the PMO also confirmed the arrests of several members of the Jaish-i-Mohammad militant group, which India suspects of involvement in what was nearly week-long siege of the Pathankot Indian air base earlier this month.
A Reuters report later cited unnamed Pakistani officials as saying head of the Jaish-i-Mohammad group, Masood Azhar, was among those arrested along with his brother and brother-in-law. This could not be independently verified by Dawn.com.
The statement was issued after a high-level meeting was chaired by Prime Minister 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.
These developments come two days before a meeting between the foreign secretaries is scheduled to take place.
“The meeting expressed national resolve not to allow our territory to be used for acts of terrorism anywhere,” the 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.”
“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 official statement said.
PM constitutes investigation committee
A committee was also constituted by the prime minister to probe "allegations of alleged involvement of certain individuals in the Pathankot incident," read a statement issued from the PM Office later in the day.
The committee includes top civil and military security officials of the country including Additional IG Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Punjab, Rai Tahir, Additional IG CTD, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Salahuddin Khan, Intelligence Bureau Director, Lahore, Azeem Arshad, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director, Lahore, Dr. Usman Anwar, Brigadier Noman Saeed from the Inter-Services Intelligence and Lt. Col. Irfan Mirza from Military Intelligence.
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 also present in the meeting .
Prime Minister 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.
Editorial: Pathankot aftermath
Later, in a high-level meeting, presided by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by General Raheel Sharif, reiterated Pakistan's commitment to cooperate with India on the Pathankot incident.
Seven Indian security personnel and four suspected gunmen were killed during the assault on the Indian air base near the Pakistan border. The attack threatened to undermine the two countries' fragile peace process.
The Pathankot airbase attack was claimed by separatist group United Jihad Council, an alliance of Kashmiri militants.
Indian Air Force's Pathankot airbase is a mere 50 km from the Pakistan border, and is a major forward operational airbase of the IAF.