Pak probe team to get limited access to Pathankot airbase: Sources


March 26, 2015

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.

March 26, 2015

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.

On the eve of the arrival of Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team visit, official sources said on Saturday India will also press for visit of its probe team to Pakistan for carrying out investigations there.

The sources said the five-member delegation led by chief of Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), additional Inspector General of Police Muhammad Tahir Rai will not be provided complete access to the Pathankot air force base but to limited areas where Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were engaged in an 80-hour gunbattle with security forces.

The Pakistani team which also comprises Lahore’s deputy director General Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence Lt Col Irfan Mirza and Gujaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer will be brought to the airbase in a special plane on March 29.

The airbase will be visually barricaded by NIA to prevent any view of its critical areas.

The team will be briefed thoroughly on March 28 at the NIA headquarters here which will include a 90-minute presentation on the investigations carried in the case so far, the sources said.

This will be the first time that Pakistani intelligence and police officials are travelling to India to investigate a terror attack.

Witnesses, except 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 were kidnapped by the terrorists on the intervening night of December 31 and January one before they entered into IAF base.

The NIA will also share details about the four terrorists which includes names of 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 carrying out the suicide attack, sources said.

Pakistani team will also be taken to the point where the Jaish terrorists had breached into India, the sources 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.

India can make a request to Pakistan for allowing an Indian probe team there for investigations at a later date, the sources said.

India will also cite similarities between the Pathankot attack and those in Samba and Kathua last year like using same GPS and wireless sets, the modus operandi of hijacking cars, energy drink ‘Red bull’ (common in all attacks), identical wire cutters and arms and ammunition of Eastern Europe, Russian and Chinese make which available in the Af-Pak region.

NIA is still awaiting a Letters Rogatory from a Pakistan court so that the evidence collected during the probe can be handed over to the JIT “legally”.

It had released photographs of the four terrorists killed during the operation with description of their height. The anti-terror probe agency has said one of the terrorists did not have toes in both the feet.

The pictures have been circulated and the public asked to share information about them. Anybody giving “relevant and correct” information would be rewarded up to Rs one lakh, NIA had said.

The agency has already approached the Interpol for issuance of ‘Black Notice’ for the four. An international notice is issued for identification of unidentified bodies found in a country.

Courtesy: HT