The NDA government sees Pakistani authorities’ FIR on the Pathankot attack as a “step in the right direction” but that is unlikely to calm the Opposition in the upcoming budget session of Parliament.
The FIR was registered on Thursday in the counter-terrorism department centre (CTDC) at Gujranwala in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The centre’s officials described the FIR as the first step for police and judicial proceedings against the masterminds of the Pathankot attack.
Key non-NDA parties ready to take on the ruling dispensation over its Pakistan policy quickly dismissed the development as “wishy-washy”.
The BJP, however, saw it as a shot in the arm. “The development reflects the success of the foreign policy of this government,” party secretary Shrikant Sharma said, latching on to the issue that earlier saw the Opposition lash out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress had questioned the rationale behind Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to go with its general criticism of the PM’s frequent foreign trips.
The FIR will be a key tool for the BJP to counter the impending Opposition attack on the government in Parliament over the Pathankot attack. According to the BJP, the FIR is a result of the government’s diplomatic efforts with Pakistan to act on the perpetrators responsible for the terrorist attack.
“Any step towards punishing those behind the act of terror is a positive indication,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said. He, however, insisted that Pakistan must punish the mastermind and the “actual perpetrators” of the incident.
Congress chief whip in the Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said, “We are going to bring up the Pathankot terror attack in Parliament. There is no doubt about it. Even the FIR is wishy-washy. Your (the government’s) policy is one of flip-flops and multiple U-turns. First you say there will be no talks (after the Pakistani high commissioner met a Hurriyat leader). Then you talk. Then you say no talks until some action is taken. There has to be a method in your system.”
Bhartruhari Mahtab, leader of the BJD — otherwise supportive of the NDA government — said the key question was the security lapse. “How did the terrorists came in? The government has to answer that first,” he said, indicating an aggressive stance.
The CPI(M)’s Mohammed Salim and the Trinamool’s Saugata Roy both maintained that the FIR meant “nothing” and the BJP would come under attack for its Pakistan policy.