New Delhi: Pakistan’s joint investigation team (JIT) arrived in New Delhi on Sunday as India opened doors for Pakistan to complete its investigation into the Pathankot terror attack, despite the fact that Islamabad is yet to respond to India’s Letter Rogatory.
The team, which includes an ISI official, will travel to Pathankot on Tuesday to survey the scene of the attack and interview witnesses.
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 includes 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 is the first time that Pakistani intelligence and police officials have come to India to investigate a terror attack.
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 were kidnapped by the terrorists on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 before they entered into Air Force base.
The 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 carrying out the suicide attack, they said.
Pakistani team will also be taken to the point where the JeM terrorists had breached into India, 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 JeM 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 wirless 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.
The terrorists were engaged in an 80-hour gunbattle with the security forces at the IAF base from the intervening night of January 1 and 2. Seven security personnel were killed, while four bodies of terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed were recovered.