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.