Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered formation of a high-profile joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the links of the Pathankot air base attackers with Pakistan.
The decision to form the JIT, comprising officials from Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Sharif recently, The Express Tribune said.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar attended the meeting.
The decision came after the leads provided by India which has linked the Foreign Secretary-level talks, scheduled for January 15, to Islamabad's decisive action on the Pathankot terror attack.
Prime Minister Sharif "is taking an active role in getting to the bottom of the Pathankot incident," a Prime Minister's House source was quoted as saying by the paper.
"He also discussed the issue with army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and took him on board about the decision to form a JIT," the source added.
"This investigation will be a major test of the prime minister to move Pakistan-India relationship forward and to break the cycle of off-again on-again talks between the two neighbours," the source added.
In a pre-dawn attack on January 2, a group of heavily- armed Pakistani terrorists, suspected to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at the Air Force base in Pathankot.
Indian intelligence reports suggested that groups and people in Pakistan planned and executed the strike.
India has provided "specific and actionable information in this regard" to Pakistan.
The evidence is said to include some voice recordings and the cellular phone numbers of the attackers' handlers which were traced to Pakistan.
Sharif has assured leaders from India and the US that Pakistan will investigate the matter and make the results public.
While Pakistan's afirmative action against the alleged suspects believed to have carried out the Pathankot attack is welcome, there is till no clarity regarding the number of arrests made or who the arrested people are. The decisive action that the Pakistan PM has assured will eventually be measured on his ability to act against the leadership of Jaish-e-Muhammad, including the Azhar brothers, who India believe plotted the Pathankot attack.