Act fast against Pathankot attack perpetrators: US tells Pakistan
Washington: The United States wants Pakistan to act fast against the perpetrators of the Pathankot attack that struck India at the very beginning of the new year. In a statement that should send the Pakistani government into action, a US State deprtment official has said that it was high time Pakistan moved forward from merely making promises to delivering on them.
The official said that it expects Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the Pathankot attack and bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.
“Pakistan should not come out with their lame excuses for the investigating the matter to guard themselves as has been the case with the Mumbai terrorist attack,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
According to the official, US believes there is sufficient indication in the Indian intelligence reports of groups and people within Pakistan having planned and executed the strike on the Pathankot airbase.
"They (Pakistan) have said publicly that they are going to investigate. They have said publicly that they are not going to discriminate between terrorist groups. We look to see actions to back up those words," the official added.
The official indicated that the US wants to give the civilian government time and space to act on its words and hoped that Pakistan would not repeat its past trend wherein it is seen reluctant in taking actions against terrorist groups under one excuse or the other.
"They said that they (Pakistan) would investigate it and we need to let that process go forward. But obviously we want to see that the perpetrators be brought to account (as soon as possible)," the state department official said on anonymity.
The official also expressed a sense of satisfaction over the reaction by the Nawaz Sharif government on the first few days of the attack.
"It is not about believe. We have to take the word that they have given. They have said that they are going to investigate. Let them do that," the official said when asked if they believe in what Pakistan is saying this time.
Senior US government officials have been in close contact with their Pakistani counterparts in the aftermath of the attacks in Pathankot and Afghanistan's Majar e Sharif urging them to take right course of action which, if they do, would not only be a great confidence building measure but would also help improve relationship with India.
Referring to the outpouring of support for India among the US lawmakers in the aftermath of the Pathankot attack, the officials indicated that in the absence of a concrete action by Pakistan against these terrorist groups, it would be a tough call for the Obama administration to push for any new military aid for Pakistan to through the Congress.
"We understand this is a challenging time. This is a complicated relationship. We do not agree with Pakistan about everything...We look to see actions to back up those words," the official added.
According to officials, it would become very difficult for the US government to convince the Republican controlled Congress to approve a sale of eight F 16s to Pakistan if Islamabad is seen as reluctant in taking action against these terrorist groups.
Over 20 lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties have come out in support of India, officials pointed out.