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Intel reports reveal security lapses at Pathankot airbase


New Delhi: Intelligence agencies have come to know that locals living near the Pathankot airbase used to pay Rs 20 to the security personnel to enter the prohibited premises and shop in the CSD canteen. Some locals even entered to graze their cattle.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was apprised by intelligence agencies about how people frequented the Air Force base along with their cattle and bribed the security personnel deployed at different places in the premises.

The security lapse was unearthed only after the Pakistan-based militants besieged the airbase at Pathankot. Following the shocking discovery, the government of Punjab started to keep a count on the Gujjar population living near the airbase to ensure security in the area.

To enter the premises, some local people made identity cards while others paid the security guards.

However, an IAS spokesperson rubbished the reports claiming that the inputs gathered by the intelligence agencies were baseless.

The attack on the air base on January 2 left seven security personnel dead.

Reportedly, the terrorists trespassed the India-Pakistan border in Punjab, reached the Pathankot airbase and carried out the attack. (Inputs by agencies)

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Pakistan’s probe team reaches Delhi, set to visit airbase soon

Pathankot: Security beefed up around Pathankot Indian Air Force (IAF) base on Jan 6, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi: Led by Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department Additional Inspector-General Muhammad Tahir Rai, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) left for India on a special plane from Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore.

“The five-member Pakistani investigation team left for New Delhi around 11.45 today,” Muhammad Tariq, an immigration official at the Lahore Airport said. Intelligence Bureau’s Deputy Director-General Lahore Muhammed Azim Arshad, Military Intelligence’s Lieutenant-Colonel Irfan Mirza, Lieutenant-Colonel Tanvir Ahmad of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Inspector Shahid Tanveer, a Punjab police officer based in Gujranwala, are the other members of the JIT.

India had blamed JeM militants for the assault on the IAF base in Pathankot in Punjab on 2 January, which triggered two days of gunbattle that left seven Indian security personnel dead.

India plans to provide the Pakistani probe team access to all witnesses in the Pathankot terror attack case but not security personnel from National Security Guard or the BSF. Official sources in New Delhi said on Saturday that India will also press for visit of its probe team to that country for carrying out investigations there.

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

The team will be briefed thoroughly tomorrow 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.

The witnesses include Punjab Police Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and cook Madan Gopal and 17 injured people. The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. On 18 February, Pakistan had lodged an FIR in connection with the Pathankot terror attack without naming JeM chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike.

Credits: Firstpost

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Pathankot attack: Combing operations likely to continue for next few days


New Delhi: The combing operations in Pathankot air base area are likely to continue for the next few days, sources said, as the fifth terrorist’s killing was confirmed.

The operations that started around 3 AM on Saturday morning continued through Monday, as at least one more terrorist who was holed up in a building was suspected dead.

Officials, however, said the chances of more terrorists hiding around the air base cannot be denied, and combing operations will continue.

“The possibility of more terrorists being present cannot be denied, the combing will continue,” an official said.

Sources said the terrorists possibly entered the base in two groups.

One group of four terrorists was killed on the first day of the operations itself. This was the group that kidnapped Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh.

The second group, suspected to be of two militants, entered the base before the first group and was in hiding.

A part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force, the air base covers an area of approximately 2,000 acres.

The IAF has pressed into operations Mi-35 choppers, and UAVs also.

“The area is extensive, and combing will take time. No risks can be taken,” the official added.

Seven security personnel, including an officer of the National Security Guards (NSG), an IAF Garud commando, and five Defense Services Corps (DSC) personnel, were killed by the terrorists.

The United Jehad Council (UJC), an umbrella grouping of Kashmiri militant groups based in Pakistan and led by Syed Salahuddin, on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack. (IANS) (Photo: