Pathankot attack: NIA visit to Pakistan still in limbo

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) The NIA’s visit to Pakistan for investigating the Pathankot air base attack is still to be finalised despite “the terms of reference mutually agreed on the basis of reciprocity with the Pakistan JIT team” that visited India last month, the government informed parliament on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary told the Rajya Sabha that the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team was informed about a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials who would like to visit Pakistan to carry forward the investigation into the January 2 Pathankot attack in which seven Indian security men were killed by suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists.

“The details of the visit are yet to be finalised,” Chaudhary said.

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He said the NIA briefed the Pakistan JIT, during its visit from March 27-31, on the investigation carried out into the terror attack.

“The interaction with the JIT was held in accordance with Terms of Reference mutually agreed on the basis of reciprocity.

“The Pakistan JIT assured of their full cooperation and promised to execute the LR (Letters Rogatory), which has been received by them,” Chaudhary said.

He said the case was under investigation in both the countries.

“The government is in touch with the relevant Pakistani authorities in the matter.”

However, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in his statement on April 7 had said “the investigation (into the Pathankot attack) was not about reciprocity”.

Basit’s remarks had negated the NIA’s claims made on March 30 that Islamabad will “reciprocate” India’s gesture of allowing Pakistani investigators, including an ISI official, to visit the IAF base in Pathankot to probe the terror attack by Pakistani terrorists.

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Sources said NIA officials had names of the terrorists, evidence like transcript of telephonic conversations and other electronic and forensic proof including against JeM chief Masood Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf.

On March 30, NIA spokesman Sanjeev Kumar said both sides had “agreed” that the kind of cooperation India provided to the Pakistani JIT would be reciprocated.

“This is the reciprocity agreed,” Kumar had told reporters.

The remarks indicated India’s intention to get similar access in Pakistan to pursue the probe into the Pathankot attack.

A day after Basit’s statement, union minister Kiren Rijiju reject the Pakistani high commissioner’s statement, saying “What he has said is wrong”.

“It will not help improve relations between the two countries,” the minister had said.


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