Three suspects arrested by Pakistani authorities for allegedly facilitating the attack on Pathankot airbase have been remanded in the custody of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab province, according to a media report on Sunday.
The suspects -- identified as Khalid Mahmood, Irshadul Haque and Muhammad Shoaib -- were arrested “over suspicion that they were facilitators of the attack”, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The three men were nabbed by the CTD from a house they had rented near Chand Da Qila bypass, located about 10 km from Gujranwala city.
On Saturday, anti-terrorism court judge Bushra Zaman gave the CTD physical remand of three suspects for six days. The suspects denied the charges.
They were taken to an “undisclosed location for investigation”, the report said.
It could not immediately be ascertained if the suspects were in any way linked to the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed, which India has blamed for the January 2 attack on Pathankot airbase which killed seven people.
These are the first formal arrests made in connection with the assault. Earlier, Pakistani authorities had placed several people, including JeM founder Masood Azhar, in “protective custody”.
News of the arrests emerged three days after Pakistan formed a new joint investigation team (JIT) that is expected to visit India next month to take forward the probe into the terror attack.
The five-member team, which includes representatives from the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and police, will replace a special investigation team (SIT) that conducted the initial probe.
The formal notification regarding the setting up of the JIT was issued on Thursday, a week after Pakistani authorities filed a First Information Report regarding the attack. The FIR is essential for investigators to travel to India to record evidence and interview witnesses.
(With inputs from agencies)