Talks were held between the five-member Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and Indian investigators into Pathankot air base attack, a day after it arrived in Delhi. JIT was formed by Pakistan establishment in response to a stern message by PM Modi seeking action on the former’s part. The dastardly terror attack was allegedly carried out by six gunmen owing allegiance to Pak-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).
The five-member Pakistani JIT is headed by Chief of provincial 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.
According to the officials, Pakistani JIT was given a detailed presentation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the probe done by Indian agencies so far. They were also apprised with the evidences collected by India that show the attack was planned in Pakistan.
The team is also set to visit Pathankot on Tuesday. India plans to provide the Pakistani team access to all witnesses in the case, but not to the security personnel from National Security Guard or BSF.
The witnesses include Punjab Police Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma, cook Madan Gopal and 17 injured persons.
The IAF base will be visually barricaded by NIA to prevent any view of critical areas. The NIA team would also show some of the areas where the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were engaged in an 80-hour-long gun battle with security personnel.
According to the sources, 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.
The terror attack at the airbase in Punjab had led to an escalation of tension between the two nations leading to the cancellation of India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks. The freeze was finally broken with both the sides agreeing for concrete measures taken in the terror attack probe.
It is not the first time that Pakistan had sent its team to India in the wake of terror attack allegedly planed in its territory. In the 26/11 Mumbai attack case too, Pakistan had sent a judicial commission to cross-examine some of the witnesses in the case.
(With inputs from the PTI)