Islamabad: The kind of intelligence Pakistan shared with India is precisely what the relationship needs more of, said an influential Pakistani daily which observed that the Mumbai terror attack "poisoned the bilateral relationship far more than Pakistan acknowledged or even appears to have realised".
An editorial titled 'Cooperation with India' in the Dawn said that the interior minister and the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs have acknowledged that Pakistan did warn Indian authorities of a possible terrorist strike on Indian soil following an illegal border crossing by militants from Pakistan.
"The kind of intelligence sharing that was revealed last week and that led to a state of high alert in Gujarat, India, is precisely what the Pakistan-India relationship needs more of," it said.
Describing it as "timely, relevant and cooperative", the editorial said: "Important too is the militant identity of the men who are believed to have crossed the border illegally — not just the out-of-favour Jaish-e-Mohammad, but the hitherto sacrosanct Laskhar-e-Taiba as well."
"Perhaps the distance between all anti-India non-state actors and the state itself is set to grow.
"If that is indeed the case — that the Lashkar and its affiliates’ forays against India will henceforth be discouraged and anti-India groups will face closer scrutiny - then perhaps it is also time for the prosecution to resume proceedings against those linked to the Mumbai attacks."
The editorial said that what happened in November 2008 "poisoned the bilateral relationship far more than Pakistan acknowledged or even appears to have realised".
It observed that not just the bilateral relationship, "but Pakistan’s international standing was in jeopardy. When cities are attacked like Paris was last November, the memory of Mumbai is still invoked in many parts of the world, including among many allies of Pakistan".
"The reluctance to prosecute the Mumbai suspects has also undeniably boosted the resistance of India’s hawks to engaging Pakistan. While India can and should help Pakistan where necessary — the imminent trip of Pakistani investigators to India to probe the Pathankot incident will be an important precedent — Pakistan too must be resourceful and inventive in its prosecution of anti-India militants."
It went on to say that timely sharing of intelligence with India, investigating and prosecuting any Pakistani militants involved in staging the Pathankot attack, and resuming and rapidly concluding the Mumbai-related trials would send a powerful message on the anti-terror front.
"Not only would Pakistan’s seriousness of purpose in an across-the-board fight against terrorism be communicated, it would also clear the path for a full-fledged re-engagement with India," the daily said and added: "India should help rather than impede that possibility."