Pathankot probe: No clarity on NIA’s visit to Pakistan

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Members of the Pakistan's Joint Investigation Team formed to probe into the Pathankot airbase attack, arrive at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.  Photo - PTI

File Photo: Members of the Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team formed to probe into the Pathankot airbase attack, arrive at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters in New Delhi .
Photo – PTI

A day after MoS for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju expressed hope that a team of National Investigation Agency will be allowed to visit Pakistan to probe the Pathankot terror attack, there is still no clarity on the matter.

On Tuesday NIA readied fresh Letters Rogatory (LRs) to be sent to Pakistan containing the addresses of four Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists who attacked the strategic Pathankot IAF base in January that killed 7 security personnel.

The LRs are being dispatched notwithstanding indications from the Pakistani side that it was not yet ready to receive Indian investigators to carry forward the probe.

In Pathankot, four terrorists were killed in a gunbattle that lasted for about 80 hours. India claims the terrorists had crossed over from Pakistan.

Post the attack, the NIA had put up the pictures of the four dead terrorists on its official website and asked general public for help in identifying them.

According to official sources, the central probe agency was flooded with many emails, some of which originated from Pakistan, giving information about the terrorists.

NIA, during its interaction with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of Pakistan, had sought details about the place of residence of the terrorists whose names had been shared with the visiting probe team. However, there was no response from Pakistan on the India’s request.

The five-member JIT also comprising an ISI officer had visited India from March 27 to April 1 during which they visited the air base and recorded statements of 16 witnesses.

During the exercise of verification of the information gathered through emails, the NIA showed the pictures and addresses to some of the jailed terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group lodged in jails here and got important inputs from them.

The address of Nasir Hussain, one of the terrorists, was located at Vehari, a town 100 kms from Multan in Punjab province of Pakistan. The other terrorist identified as Hafiz Abu Bakar, was allegedly a resident of Gujranwala in Pakistan. And Umer Farooq and Abdul Qayum were allegedly from Sindh.

India has already sent Letters Rogatory to Pakistan in which it had asked for voice samples of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf and Khayyam Babbar, mother of Hussain.

Earlier today NIA Director General Sharad Kumar said his team was ready to visit Pakistan after a clearance was issued from Islamabad.

“We have handed over all the documents sought by the JIT and I believe that the evidence handed over to Pakistan can stand scrutiny in any court of law internationally,” Kumar said.

After the Pakistani JIT returned home, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had said that NIA will not be allowed to visit Pakistan for probe.

“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,” Basit had said.

(With inputs from PTI)