India

Pathankot attack: Pakistan police register complaint

Indian security forces stand guard at an air force base near the Pakistani border Image copyright AP
Image caption Seven Indian soldiers died in the attack on the Pathankot air base

Police in Pakistan have registered a complaint against "unknown persons" in the terror attack on an India air base.

An official of the Interior Ministry of Pakistan filed the complaint, which mentions some Pakistani mobile numbers provided by Indian authorities.

The move comes a day after Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Pakistan was "sleeping" over the case.

India had blamed Pakistan-based groups for the four-day attack on the Pathankot air base in January.

Indian troops killed six militants during the four-day battle. Seven Indian soldiers also died in the clashes.

Delhi subsequently blamed Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, and gave Islamabad "specific and actionable" information on the attack.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says there are doubts over how serious a move this could be given that neither the group Jaish-e-Mohammad nor any of its members have been named in the complaint.

The investigation is going to be "open-ended" and likely to dabble through a maze of clues to chase "unknown functionaries" of "a proscribed organisation", our correspondent adds.

The assault started on 2 January when a group of gunmen - wearing Indian army uniforms - entered the residential quarters on the base. Three days of heavy gunfire followed as Indian troops battled the attackers.

Pathankot: A strategic location

Image copyright EPA
  • The Pathankot air force base extends over about 2,000 acres, including some areas covered with tall vegetation.
  • The base's commanding officer Air Commodore JS Dhamoon has described it as a "mini-city". It includes homes and a school for the children of air force personnel.
  • Pathankot is home to a fleet of MiG-21 fighter jets and Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack helicopters, along with other military hardware.
  • It occupies a highly strategic position on the main highway connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country. It is also very close - about 35km - to the border with Pakistan.

The attacks had also temporarily derailed the renewed peace initiative between India and Pakistan.

Hopes for Delhi-Islamabad detente were raised in late December after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an unexpected visit to his counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his way back from Afghanistan, and the two sides announced plans to resume peace talks.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Modi (left) and Mr Sharif (right) are both political conservatives but relations between their countries are fraught with suspicion

On 14 January, officials from both sides said the talks remained on the agenda, but they are yet to announce a date for when their foreign secretaries would meet.

The neighbours have a history of mistrust and have fought three wars.

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