Pakistan has detained Pathankot suspects, details can’t be shared: NIA

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 30, 2016 19:17 IST
Members of the Pakistani joint investigation team arrive at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)

Pakistan has detained suspects in January’s Pathankot attack, counter-terror agency NIA said on Wednesday, and added the team visiting India has provided details of its investigation that cannot be disclosed.

The National Investigation Agency has asked the five-member Pakistani team for the voice samples of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother, Abdul Rauf Asghar, NIA chief Sharad Kumar said.

India blames the attack on an air force base in Punjab’s Pathankot on Pakistan-based JeM. Six soldiers were killed in an 80-hour gun battle in the strategic facility early January.

Read: NIA plays JeM leader’s Pathankot tape, Pakistan probe team listens

Rauf Asghar claimed to have sent ‘mujahideen (holy warriors)’ to attack the Pathankot airbase and made fun of India’s response in an audio tape.

NIA handed over the statements of witnesses, post-mortem report of the four terrorists killed in the strike to the Pakistani team, which has an official of spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence.

This is the first time a Pakistan team is examining witnesses in a case in India, and New Delhi doesn’t want the neighbouring country to cite “lack of cooperation” at any level.

The team visited the Pathankot airbase on Tuesday, though its access was restricted to the crime scene.

Any lead picked up by the Pakistan team will not be of legal use in the absence of Letter Rogatory, a request from a court to a foreign court for any judicial assistance.

But, there are hopes that Pakistan will conduct a serious probe during the “goodwill visit”.

The visit has created a political storm, with opposition parties accusing the Narendra Modi of changing its stand and inviting the Pakistani team.

Read: ‘Insult to Mother India’: Rivals attack Modi over Pak’s Pathankot team

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