NEW DELHI: A five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan, including an ISI official, reached India on Sunday to carry out a probe into the attack on the IAF base at Pathankot, marking the first-ever such visit to the country to investigate a terror case, Press Trust of India said.
The agency said the team would also analyse investigations being carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) so far. The visitors were received by officials of the NIA and Pakistan High Commission. It will visit Pathankot on Tuesday for the probe into the attack on the Indian Air Force base carried out by suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group on Jan 2. The team flew to New Delhi by a special flight from Pakistan.
PTI said India planned to provide the Pakistan investigators access to all witnesses in the Pathankot attack case, but not security personnel from National Security Guard or the BSF.
JIT will quiz witnesses, except security personnel
It quoted sources as saying 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, except personnel of NSG, BSF and Garud commandos of IAF, have been lined up for the Pakistani probe team, PTI said.
The witnesses include Superintendent of Police, Punjab, Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and cook Madan Gopal and 17 injured people.
According to PTI, the team is headed by chief of Punjab’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Mohammad 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 Gujranwala 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 JIT 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 suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists had been engaged in an 80-hour-long gunbattle with security personnel.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2016