A Pakistani investigation panel on Tuesday visited various locations in Punjab, including a part of the Indian Air Force base that was attacked in January, to retrace the movements of the suspected Pakistani militants who infiltrated it.
A five-member Pakistani joint investigation team (JIT) was taken to various locations along a route, National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials believe, was taken by the terrorists.
The air force base was attacked on January 2, and laid siege to for more than three days. Seven Indian security personnel and all the militants were killed in the conflict.
Accompanied by NIA officials and Punjab’s Police’s elite SWAT commandos, the team reached the air base through a specially created entrance at the Air Force Station.
They were taken to the areas where security forces engaged the militants and kept away from the station’s technical area.
“We have, physically and visually, barricaded the airbase. Tent walls have been erected around the crime scene (shootout site) and nothing else will be visible to the JIT members. Their entry will also be through a special gate through the rear portion of the airbase,” an IAF officer said.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had also said on Monday that the JIT would not have access to the operational area of the base, but only the isolated “crime scene”.
The JIT was also not allowed to interact with the Indian Air Force or other defence and security officials and personnel involved in the 80-hour counter-operation by security forces against the terrorists.
Informed defence sources in Pathankot said the team would also be shown the bodies of the terrorists kept at a government hospital mortuary.
Through their tour on Tuesday, tight security arrangements were in place as political activists from the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) protested against Pakistani officials investigating the attack.
The protesters, led by AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and SS Chhotepur, carried black flags and banners, and shouted “Go Back” slogans.
The JIT members arrived in New Delhi on Sunday and held day-long meetings with NIA officers before heading to to Pathankot via Amritsar on Tuesday.