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Pathankot probe: Progress depends on co-operation from India, says Sartaj Aziz

PTI
Published Mar 2, 2016, 7:42 am IST
Updated Mar 2, 2016, 1:58 pm IST
Pakistan is anxiously waiting for Foreign Secretary-level talks with India, says the Foreign Affairs advisor.
Aziz said that an SIT is scheduled to visit India to investigate the Pathankot terrorist attack and collect samples and evidences (Photo: PTI)
 Aziz said that an SIT is scheduled to visit India to investigate the Pathankot terrorist attack and collect samples and evidences (Photo: PTI)

Washington: Pakistan is "anxiously waiting" for the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks, a top aide of Pakistan Prime Minister said on Wednesday and asked India not to give the non-state actors "a veto" over bilateral ties.

Sartaj Aziz, the foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said that his government's policy direction with regard to fight against terrorism is "clear" but conceded that the "implementation is not very easy".

 

Also read: Sartaj Aziz says India top security concern, rules out reducing nukes

He said a Special Investigative Team (SIT) is scheduled to visit India to investigate the Pathankot terrorist attack and collect samples and evidences.

But the progress on the investigation depends on the co-operation from India, he said in response to a question at the Council on Foreign Relations a top US think-tank.

"As our policy of peaceful neighbourhood, we have reached out to India. We are anxiously waiting for the dialogue to be resumed. The Pathankot incident disrupted the process of the two foreign secretaries' meetings," Aziz said.

"Once we begin the dialogue, I am sure we would be able to deal with some issues even if we are not able to solve all the issues at dispute. Our main purpose is that Line of Control should be peaceful, normal relationship should start, sporting links should resume so that tension decreases. That prepares the ground for dealing with more difficult issues," Aziz said.

Responding to a question on how Pakistan would manage the "ability of the spoilers" to take off track the peace efforts of the government in particular with that with India, he conceded that this is a tough task at their disposal.

"The question is obviously people who want to disrupt these talks, non-state actors of course. No country has totally controlled them. So for somebody to orchestrate an incident, with people on both sides of the border, these kinds of incidents would always take place. We have been urging India not to give a veto to these non-state groups.

"There is one incident and the whole relationship collapses," Aziz said.

Observing that a great deal of the problem being faced by Pakistan today is the result of fighting other people's war, including the war against Russia by Afghan  Mujahedeen and the US.

"Should, we have done that in retrospect, I do not know. Look at the cost to us.. both guns and drugs. We have destroyed our economic potential in last 20-25 years because of the one decision that we took," he said.

Ironically military rulers of that time took such decisions to stay in power.

"We have now decided enough to enough. We  must look after our own borders, look after our own country, must develop our economy and not become part of anything that does not directly affect us," he noted.

Pakistan, he argued, has shown to India that it wants to strongly deal with terrorist groups. "Terrorism is a common threat. In India they have one or two incident a year. We have an incident every week.

Therefore, we have suffered much more from terrorism that anybody else. We have told them that in our relationship they have been interfering not through non-state actors but through state actors. So therefore, let's improve our relationship," he said.

Aziz hoped that India would provide Pakistan necessary evidence to carry the investigation of those involved in the Pathankot terrorist attack.

Also read: Pathankot attack: May make Masood Azhar available for probe, says Pakistan

"In one interview in an Indian newspaper, what I said was that so far the information given is telephone call, is numbers which are linked to some. Out of those three-four (numbers), one was traced to one particular organization’s head office. That persuaded us to take action against that (organisations) and preventive detention of their leaders and sealing (of its office)," he said.

"The next step is to identify the four people who carried out the attack. And there the photograph provided, fingerprints provided are not enough to link with our database.

Also read: Have changed policy to target all terror groups: Pakistan

"The Special Investigation Team, which is going to India soon, will try to get proper photograph of the face, because they are people lying underground and you can't match them with your database and proper finger prints which would also enable us to find out whether they are Pakistanis or not. That is step number one," he said.

"The link of those with the telephone number and the organisations would be the next step. Right now we can't pre-judge as to who is responsible.

"Anybody can dial that particular number from India. That is not very difficult," Aziz said.

"We know what the number of that organisation is. But to establish (the links), we require further evidence. Whether they were using the kind of communication...because they were using the phone of someone who were murdered," he added.

"In a very short time we have prepared the requirement we have for additional evidence. It would depend on the visit of the SIT team to Delhi next week. As a result of that hopefully India would cooperate fully, give us provide us additional evidence, which would then enable us to proceed against whosoever is suspected," Aziz said.

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