No one will believe India staged Pathankot attack: Minister

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said no one, including people in Pakistan, will believe that the Pathankot airbase attack was stage-managed by India.

Reacting to a Pakistan newspaper report that claimed that the Joint Investigation Team that probed the January 2 attack has said the attack was “staged” by India, Naidu said: “Pakistan has always done this.”

The minister said the newspaper report was not an official version from Pakistan but quoted sources.

“I hope they (Pakistan) won’t take such a stand. No one will believe it, including the Pakistani people,” Naidu said during an interaction with the Indian Women Press Corps.

“They are under pressure of extremist groups… people want dialogue, but a dialogue cannot go along with terror,” the minister said.

Naidu said the responsibility for creating a conducive atmosphere for talks with India rested with Pakistan now.

“Pakistan should take a decision on what it is doing about its policy of funding and support to terror. We want friendly relation with all neighbours,” he said.

“The responsibility is with Pakistan to create the conducive atmosphere (for talks).”

The minister said that “dialogue is the only way” for India and Pakistan to resolve long-standing bilateral issues.

A report in ‘Pakistan Today’ newspaper, quoting sources, said that the JIT report has concluded that the Indian authorities had prior information about the attackers.

The daily claimed its source said India “used the attack as a tool to expand its vicious propaganda against Pakistan without having any solid evidence to back the claim”.

The JIT arrived in India on March 28 and visited Pathankot the next day. It returned to Pakistan on April 1.

The January 2 attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab left seven security personnel and the intruding terrorists dead.

India blamed banned terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad for the Pathankot attack.

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