BJP hits out at Congress, AAP protests over Pakistani team

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New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday countered criticism from the Congress and AAP over the visit of the Pakistani probe team, saying its visit would rather “strengthen” India’s case on the Pathankot terror attacks.

“India has adequate evidence that Pakistan territory was used for the Pathankot attack. The visit of the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team strengthens our case; it does not weaken it,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters here.

Hitting back at criticism from the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and other opposition parties for giving access to the Pakistani team, he said the Congress party would do well to do its “homework” for it has “played with national security during their days in power”.

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“For the first time Pakistan has admitted that their territory was used for the Pathankot attack. And Pakistan has assured that it will act against the terrorists. This has never happened in the past,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and communicated to him about the Indian “people’s anguish that whenever we take a step for friendship, this is reciprocated with betrayal”.

The Congress and Delhi’s ruling AAP have lambasted the government and questioned how an officer of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was allowed to visit India and permitted inside the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot.

Activists from Congress and AAP also protested near the front gate of the Pathankot base in Punjab on Tuesday morning.

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Referring to past instances like the 2013 beheading of army Lance Naik Hemraj, the BJP leader said the then defence minister A.K. Antony had “softened” his stance against terror elements when he had said that “terrorists had come in army uniform”.

Sharma also referred to the Ishrat Jahan case and charged the Congress with making two official agencies, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) “fight against each other” on whether Ishrat was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative.

He said “Pakistan had deputed a team” even for the 2008 Mumbai attack, but no one raised any questions then.

Most of the criticism against the visit of the Pakistani probe team is politically motivated, he alleged.

Describing AAP as an “outsourced party” of the Congress, Sharma said: “A party which cannot kill mosquitoes that spread dengue in Delhi is commenting on a country’s foreign policy because this gives them media mileage.”

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He said the AAP should focus on governance in Delhi rather than indulging in criticism of foreign policy.

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