ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A Pakistan police spokesman said on Friday a case has been lodged against unnamed perpetrators of a deadly attack on an Indian air base last month that has renewed tensions between the rivals.
The Jan. 2 attack on the Pathankot air base, in which seven Indian security personnel were killed, has stalled hopes of revived peace talks between the nations after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to his counterpart Nawaz Sharif in December.
India said it gave actionable intelligence to Pakistan in the weeks following the attack, but Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar suggested on Thursday Pakistan was slow to act.
“The government of India has been continuously giving evidence of so many things,” Parrikar said in a televised interview on India Today. “If someone is serious, he can definitely act.”
Foreign secretary level talks between the nuclear-armed neighbors had been scheduled for last month. On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said a new date should be decided “as early as possible”.
Counter-terrorism police in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Thursday filed a case against the alleged air base attackers and “their alleged abettors” belonging to a banned militant group, a spokesman said in a statement.
It did not give the number or names of the accused, or which group they belonged to.
Last month, Pakistan detained Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-e-Mohammad, or Army of Mohammad, a militant group that Indian officials blamed for the attack.
Pakistan authorities sealed offices and shut several religious schools run by the group, but security officials said a special team set up to look into the attack found no evidence implicating Azhar or associates in the January raid.
On Friday, Pakistani officials said a new joint team of military and civil intelligence agencies would look into the freshly lodged case, and that any non-state actor found to be involved would be brought to justice.
“The registration of this case shows that there is full commitment and earnestness,” Punjab’s law minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters.
“If you want to make your image before the world better, and to dispel the propaganda of other countries that our commitment is questionable, then we have to do things like this,” he said.
India has long accused Pakistan of using Kashmir-based militants such as Jaish-e-Mohammad as a proxy to mount attacks on Indian soil.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since becoming separate countries in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari in Lahore, Asad Hashim and Krista Mahr in Islamabad and Syed Raza Hassan in Karachi; Writing by Krista Mahr; Editing by Richard Borsuk