India on Tuesday termed as “total concoction” a Pakistan report, quoting sources in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that visited India, that the Pathankot attack was staged by India.
Meanwhile, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said no one, including people in Pakistan, will believe that the Pathankot airbase attack was stage-managed by India.
“The report in Pakistan Today is a total concoction. While in India, the JIT took onboard the detailed evidence which was shared by the NIA,” sources from the external affairs ministry (MEA) said.
“Since the JIT collected evidence in accordance with Pakistani law which applies to Pakistani citizens committing an offence abroad, the involvement of Pakistanis in the Pathankot attack is self evident,” the sources added.
Pakistan Today, quoting sources in the JIT said “the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan”.
Reacting to the Pakistani newspaper report that claimed that the JIT that probed the January 2 attack said it was “staged” by India, Venkaiah Naidu said: “Pakistan has always done this.”
The minister said the newspaper report was not an official version from Pakistan but quoted sources.
“I hope they (Pakistan) won’t take such a stand. No one will believe it, including the Pakistani people,” Naidu said during an interaction with the Indian Women Press Corps.
“They are under pressure of extremist groups... people want dialogue, but a dialogue cannot go along with terror,” he said.
On similar lines, National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson Sanjeev Singh told IANS: “We had provided all kinds of information sought by the five-member Pakistani team. The report being run on news channels is quoting sources. We have not had any talk with Pakistani officials on this so far.”
A report in Pakistan Today newspaper, quoting sources, said the JIT concluded that the Indian authorities had prior information about the attackers.
The daily claimed its source said India “used the attack as a tool to expand its vicious propaganda against Pakistan without having any solid evidence to back the claim”.
The report also quoted a member of the JIT as saying that NIA officer Tanzil Ahmad’s murder on Saturday night in Uttar Pradesh showed that “Indian establishment wants to keep the matter under wraps”.
The JIT arrived in India on March 28 and visited Pathankot the next day. It returned to Pakistan on April 1.
The January 2 attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab left seven security personnel and the intruding terrorists dead. India blamed banned terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attack.