In what could be called an unprecedented situation, Pakistani investigators may ask Indian national security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval for a statement in the Pathankot air base attack case as their first information report (FIR) is based on information provided by him, sources told HT.
The Pakistani probe team is likely to visit India in the second week of March. The counter-terrorism department (CTD) centre in Pakistani Punjab’s Gujranwala district filed an FIR in the connection with the attack against unknown accused a week back.
“The FIR said it was being lodged on the basis of information provided by India’s NSA that four attackers crossed from Pakistan to India to attack the Pathankot air base on January 2, which makes Doval a complainant in the case and a potential prime witness.
The Pakistani investigators may have to record his statement as per the general requirement under criminal jurisprudence,” said a senior government official briefed about the case. He spoke on the condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the probe.
The registration of the FIR by Islamabad came after Doval spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua several times over phone in this connection after the January 2 attack, which led to the death of eight security personnel.
Immediately after it, India provided Pakistan details of phone numbers that were called by the attackers after entering the air base. India told Pakistan that a few numbers called by the attackers were of known operatives of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, seeking action against them.
“The information on Pathankot attack was exchanged between the two countries at the level of NSAs. Both the NSAs discussed the possibility of a Pakistani probe team visiting India for exchange of information on the attack,” said another senior home ministry official.
Sources say though the registration of FIR provides a legal framework for the visit of Pakistani investigators to India, Islamabad could have avoided mentioning Doval’s name in the FIRs by registering it on the basis of source information.
Both ministries of external affairs and home declined to comment on the issue.