Pakistan JIT arrives in India to probe Pathankot terror attack
A five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan that included an ISI official reached here on Sunday to carry out a probe into the attack at the IAF base at Pathankot in north Indian state of Punjab marking the first-ever such visit to the country to probe a terror case.
It will also analyse investigations being carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) so far. The team, which was received by officials of the NIA and Pakistan High Commission, will on Tuesday visit Pathankot for the probe into the attack at the Indian Air Force base carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed(JeM) terror group on January 2. It flew in here by a special flight from Pakistan.
The team is headed by Chief of Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Tahir Rai and comprises Lahore’s Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence official Lt Col Irfan Mirza and Gujaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer. During 26/11 Mumbai attack case, Pakistan had sent a judicial commission to cross-examine some of the witnesses in the case.
The team would be going to the NIA headquarters on Monday morning where they would be given a 90-minute presentation by NIA team about the probe conducted so far and evidences that show that the terror attack was planned from across the border in Pakistan, official sources said. Seven security personnel were killed in the attack.
In the post-lunch session, the Pakistani team would be raising their set of questions to the NIA investigators to clear doubts, if any, before they fly to Pathankot in a special plane on Tuesday morning, the sources said. The IAF airbase will be visually barricaded by NIA to prevent any view of its critical areas and NIA team would show some of the areas where the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were engaged in an 80-hour-long gun battle with security personnel.
India plans to provide the probe team from Pakistan access to all witnesses in the Pathankot terror attack case but not security personnel from National Security Guard or the BSF.
The sources said that cooperation to the Pakistani team would be based on the principle of reciprocity hoping that an Indian team would be allowed to travel to Pakistan at a later date. Witnesses, excepting personnel of NSG, BSF and Garud commandos of IAF, have been lined up for the Pakistan probe team.
The witnesses include Punjab Police Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and cook Madan Gopal and 17 injured people. The three men were kidnapped by the terrorists on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 before they entered the base.
NIA will also share details about the four terrorists which includes their native villages, people who had cooperated with them and facilitated their entry into India through Bamiyal village on Indo-Pak border.
DNA samples were taken from the energy drink that they are believed to have consumed before carrrying out the sucide attack, official sources had said.
Pakistani team will also be taken to the point where the Jaish terrorists had breached into India, they said.
While India has made it clear that it will cooperate in the probe provided Pakistan reciprocates in the same way, the sources said the Pakistani side would be asked about some details that India had sought from them.
This includes some phone numbers, persons involved which includes brother of Jaish Chief Masood Azhar and companies who had supplied the packed food to the terrorists.