GUJRANWALA - The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab police yesterday registered an FIR against the alleged attackers of the Pathankot airbase in India and their abettors. It, however, did not give the number or names of the accused, or which group they belonged to.

According to the CTD spokesman, FIR No 06/2016 was registered by the CTD police station in Gujranwala under sections 302, 324 and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and sections 7 and 21-I of Anti-Terrorism Act.

The CTD spokesman said the FIR was registered on a complaint filed by Deputy Home Secretary Aitzaz-ud-Din, in the light of a letter from Atizaz-ud-Din, deputy secretary, Ministry of Interior, in which it was mentioned that the Indian NSA reported that these attackers had come from Pakistan. It was also requested in the letter that a first information report be registered regarding the incident and investigation conducted so as to identify the culprits involved in the offence and bring them to trial in accordance with the law.

A formal investigation was launched following the registration of the FIR, he said, adding a joint investigation team would probe the attack.

Indian National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval had informed the authorities that four attackers had come from Pakistan and had “probably crossed the border adjacent to the Pathankot area.” The NSA is cited as saying that while in India, they made phone calls to cell phones belonging to a proscribed organisation. No individuals or groups were named in the document.

Seven Indian soldiers were killed in the January 2 attack by the six gunmen who entered the high-security Pathankot airbase in the northern state of Punjab.

Following Indian accusations earlier this year that Jaish-i-Muhammad was responsible for the attacks, Pakistani authorities, in a crackdown, sealed a Jaish-run seminary in Sialkot and took group leader Masood Azhar into protective custody.

According to a CTD official, the FIR was needed to start police and judicial proceedings on the basis of evidence collected in connection with the attack.

A police official said after the registration of the FIR, any accused can be presented before the court to start a formal trial.

According to intelligence officials, about a dozen suspects were arrested in Pakistan following the attack. The FIR has reportedly been registered on the recommendations of a six-member special team probing the attack.

According to Reuters, India said it gave actionable intelligence to Pakistan in the weeks following the attack, but Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar suggested on Thursday Pakistan was slow to act.

"The government of India has been continuously giving evidence of so many things," Parrikar said in a televised interview on India Today. "If someone is serious, he can definitely act."

On Friday, Pakistani officials said a new joint team of military and civil intelligence agencies would look into the freshly lodged case, and that any non-state actor found to be involved would be brought to justice.

"The registration of this case shows that there is full commitment and earnestness," Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters.

"If you want to make your image before the world better, and to dispel the propaganda of other countries that our commitment is questionable, then we have to do things like this," he said.

Rana Sanaullah said investigators can grill any person in Pakistan in the Pathankot attack case.

"No one becomes guilty upon naming (in a case). I don't want to name anyone at this stage. Let the probe be completed and if Masood Azhar is involved, action will be taken," the minister said. He also urged India to provide any evidence it has on Azhar or anybody else's involvement in the attack.

INDIA 'DISAPPOINTED' OVER FIR

India yesterday expressed disappointment that neither Jaish-e-Mohammed nor its chief Masood Azhar were named in the Pakistani FIR.

"It is a small step in the right direction. But it is disappointing that neither the name of Jaish nor Masood Azhar was incorporated in the FIR," a senior Indian government official was quoting as saying by the Indian media. "We have failed to understand why Jaish and its chief's names were not included in the FIR despite India giving adequate evidence about their involvement," the official said.

INDIA DENIES PAK HC PERMISSION TO VISIT NOIDA

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit has been denied permission by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi to attend a conference at a management institute in the neighbouring Greater Noida district of Uttar Pradesh.

The theme of the conference was Latest Advances in Technology, Management and Allied Sector in which Mr Basit was to deliver the keynote address. “The Pakistan High Commissioner has regretted to the IIMT college that he will not be able to address the conference due to the denial of permission by the MEA to visit the town,” Indian media reported, quoting sources.

INDIAN FISHERMEN arrested

AHMEDABAD (Monitoring Desk): The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (MSA) has apprehended at least 40 Indian fishermen and seized seven of their boats near Jakhau port off the Gujarat coast in the early hours of Friday, Indian media reported. "The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency apprehended at least 40 Indian fishermen along with 7 of their boats near Jakhau port off the Gujarat coast at Arabian sea late last night," Secretary of India’s National Fishworkers' Forum Manish Lodhari said.

Out of these seven boats, six had ventured into the sea from Okha port while one is registered in Porbandar, Lodhari claimed.