The blatant allegation from New Delhi regarding Islamabad’s direct involvement in the Pathankot attack comes as a surprise to no one. From the moment those six terrorists held the base hostage, Pakistan was destined to be damned. The gun battle that ensued for three days left seven Indian soldiers dead in its wake and a war of words have been exchanged since then. Decades of mistrust as well as anti-peace elements working either side of the border disrupt any progress made diplomatically, however small.

The two Joint Investigation Teams (JITs), one constructed by the Federal Government, while the other by the Punjab Government have yet to complete the probe and approach India. A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against the attackers, which is a very forthcoming move, as FIRs are rarely registered for extra-territorial offences. The registration of the FIR itself proved to be enough fodder for the Indian media that put the entire onus on Pakistan, holding this as ‘proof’ of Pakistani involvement. The logical inconsistency behind this is self-evident. Apparently, empty food packets with a Pakistani label had been found at the international border near a BSF outpost in Simbal as well, and this evidence is apparently enough for the media and opposition to scream bloody murder.

The Modi government seems to have forgotten the nuances of legal systems all over the world; a suspect is innocent until proven guilty, and cannot be hanged based on the whims of the Indian Prime Minister alone. Diplomatic relations and dialogue for peace must not rest on inaction on baseless speculations and false allegations. It was expected that the Modi government was bound to cave in to the pressure of the opposition sooner or later and forgo attempts to improve ties.

India is simply looking to build pressure on Pakistan, sticking to its consistent demand to ban all militant organisations traditionally associated with the Kashmir insurgency, namely the JeM and LeT. The Indian government must realise that non-state actors within the Pakistan are not supported by the government. This line of thinking has to be done away with in light of recent developments; with the international community also slowly coming to terms with Pakistan’s belated commitment to fight terrorists of all shapes and sizes after APC. All these preconditions and sweeping statements before concrete evidence comes to light only point to one thing; serious dialogue is simply not on the agenda right now. For once, this unwillingness is only one-sided, and it would be highly unfortunate if the peace dialogue were stalled once again, spelling victory for anti-peace elements that carried out the attack for this exact reason.