The Pathankot incident remains the biggest thorn in the hopes of any discussions between India and Pakistan. Yet the government remains clueless as to how it can address India’s allegations and aid in the investigation as promised. On Tuesday, the Senate was informed that it was still in the dark about the alleged involvement of Pakistanis in the attack on the Pathankot airbase, as the intelligence agencies have not updated the government of any headway made, provided there was any.

Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, who was responding to questions on behalf of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, found himself in the line of fire as he failed to answer any questions the ministers had on the issue, saying, that the “sensitive issue was being dealt by the intelligence agencies and secrecy was also involved in it”. While it is easy to blame the aspect of secrecy in such matters and the dreaded unattainable “classified files”, the government must be informed if Pakistan did uncover any facts pertaining to the incident. Silence will only lead to weak diplomacy and any progress in bringing India to the negotiating table cannot be made if we do not have answers.

India is in the habit of levelling false allegations against Pakistan whenever a militant attack takes place in the country. The only way to address this is to conduct impartial investigations and provide them with evidence to prove that we are not the ones at fault. This would negate the Indian position of ‘no talks with terrorism’, because its claims of Pakistani-state sponsored terrorism would be refuted with evidence. Declaring us a ‘terrorist state’ would not be a possibility.

Though the United Jihad Council, a Kashmir-based militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack on January 4, India insisted that the terrorists most likely belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed. The least that can be done is that Pakistan verbally disassociate itself from local terrorist groups that continue to launch attacks within our country like Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. For both sides, the focus should be on productive diplomacy at the level of foreign secretaries and continued security dialogue at the national security advisor level. If anything, Pathankot is a reminder that the path toward peace will be far from frictionless and both countries should do their best to work together and move beyond to find a permanent solution.