Pak may consider India’s request for NIA visit: Aziz
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday indicated that his country might consider a request by India for a visit by its National Investigation Agency (NIA) team to further probe the Pathankot terror strike, days after top Pakistani envoy ruled out the same.
Aziz said Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit’s comments that the bilateral peace process was “suspended” did not mean “cancelled or given up” and hoped that the Indo-Pak dialogue would resume soon.
On whether the NIA team would be allowed to visit Pakistan in connection with Pathankot probe, Aziz said, “once the stage is reached...India makes a request and then we will see”.
Claiming that Basit’s comments that cooperation not meaning reciprocity were “over-interpreted”, he said he did not exclude the option of NIA’s visit to Pakistan.
“I don’t think he used that word. He said that right now cooperation is more important than that of reciprocity and does not exclude option and he said that let’s cooperate and then things will work out. So, I don’t think one should over interpret statement, he (Basit) just said that cooperation is more important, which is true,” Aziz said.
Earlier this month, Basit had indicated that the Indian probe team was unlikely to be allowed to visit Pakistan, which had sent its JIT to probe the terror attack at the airbase, saying, “...the whole investigation is not about the question of reciprocity in my view. It is more about extending cooperation or our two countries cooperating with each other to get to the bottom of the incident.”
Aziz also down-played Basit’s remarks on the “suspension” of Indo-Pak peace process, saying “... suspending doesn’t mean cancelled or given up”. For the time being you called it suspended as obviously after January, four months have passed, and to that “extent dialogue is suspended but I hope it will resume soon,” he added.
He also alleged that the recent arrest of the former Indian naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, was “not the case of one individual. It is network, which is operating in Baloachistan. We have arrested some more people... We don’t want consular access to affect our investigating in to this entire episode.”
Jadhav was arrested last month by Pakistan authorities, who alleged that he was an Indian spy, an allegation rejected by India that has sought consular access to him.
Pathankot: Govt hopeful of NIA team’s visit to Pak
Amid thaw in the Indo-Pak relations, Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday said the government was hopeful a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would soon visit the neighbouring country to gather evidence in connection with the Pathankot terror attack. “We are hopeful that a team of NIA will visit Pakistan soon,” the Minister of State for Home told reporters here. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had indicated last fortnight that Indian investigators might not be allowed to visit Pakistan to pursue the probe in connection with the Pathankot attack. However, India countered it by saying that before the visit of a Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) here last month, both sides had agreed that it would be on the basis of reciprocity. Official sources said Pakistan has backtracked from its promise to allow the Indian team’s visit there to probe the January 2 Pathankot terror attack case apparently after finding that NIA has enough evidence to nail ISI’s links with terrorists involved in it.