Pakistani media outlets today said the brazen attack by militants at a key Indian Air Force base will pose a “challenge to attempts to resurrect” the dialogue process between the two neighbours despite the goodwill generated by recent high-level meetings between their leaders.
On its front page lead ‘Gunmen mount brazen attack on Indian air force base’, the Express Tribune said the attack was over but it posed a “challenge to attempts to resurrect a moribund dialogue process between the two neighbours”.
The News International reported that the assault by gunmen came a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in an effort to revive bilateral talks.
“Previous attempts at dialogue between the nuclear-armed neighbours have been derailed by similar incidents but, as Pakistani authorities condemned the raid, experts suggested the latest negotiations would prove more durable,” it opined.
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Dawn said that immediate indications from India after the Pathankot incident suggested that the foreign secretaries’ talks would go ahead despite the setback, but the incident would impact the atmospherics.
“India expects to complete initial probe into the incident before the meeting and its position at the talks would depend a lot on what comes out of the investigation,” the paper said.
“The Foreign Office said it hoped to build on the goodwill generated by recent high-level contacts,” it added.
As print media mostly focused on the attack and its likely impact on the peace process, the electronic media was busy in a matching response to Indian TV channels trying to find Pakistan link to the attack.
Urdu language newspapers also gave wide coverage to the incident, while mostly focusing on the details of the attack and response by the Indian security forces. They also criticised accusation against Pakistan without investigations.
Influential Jang newspaper reported that Indian officials in a typical kneejerk reaction blamed Pakistan for the attack. Heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists yesterday attempted to storm the Air Force base in Pathankot, triggering a day-long gunbattle in which three security men and all the five infiltrators were killed.
Three other security men succumbed to injuries in a hospital later and one NSG member was killed while defusing the grenade at the scene of the terror attack, taking the toll of Indian security personnel to seven.
The attackers were believed to have infiltrated from Pakistan and there was speculation that they may belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad headed by Maulana Masood Azhar of the Kandahar hijack episode.