Govt junks Pak reports on Pathankot JIT, awaits Islamabad’s reaction
Dismissing reports coming from Pakistan claiming that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) didn’t have enough evidence about Pakistani nationals being involved in the Pathankot attack, officials of NIA say that India’s investigation can satisfy any international judicial scrutiny.
“We fully cooperated with the members of Pakistani joint investigation team (JIT). We shared all the evidence we had in the Pathankot case. We offered them a visit to the mortuary where dead bodies of the four attackers were preserved, but they declined,” said a senior NIA official requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media on this issue.
The National Security Guard, which was called in for counter-terrorist operations in Pathankot, says that it had neutralised six attackers. Bodies of four attackers were recovered while the other two were badly charred.
Dead bodies of the four dead are being preserved in freezers in a Pathankot government hospital, since the attack three months ago, as they constitute evidence for the NIA’s case.
The NIA also slammed reports in the Pakistani media that JIT members were allowed to stay in the Pathankot airbase for only 55 minutes.
“We gave enough time to the JIT members in the Pathankot airbase. In fact, only they told us that they wanted to leave,” said the NIA official on condition of anonymity.
The JIT sought evidence from the NIA under Section 188 of Pakistan’s Criminal Procedure Code, which deals with offences committed by any Pakistani citizen outside its territorial jurisdiction.
“Once the JIT sought evidence under Section 188, it in effect meant that Pakistani nationals were being probed in the Pathankot attack case,” said a senior Home Ministry official requesting anonymity.
During the five-day-long interaction with JIT members, the NIA provided them intercepts of calls made by the Pathankot attackers to their handlers in Pakistan, call details of phone numbers used by the attackers, the details of Pakistani food packets brought and consumed by them in India after crossing the border, DNA samples taken from the dead bodies of four attackers to match with their family members in Pakistan, names of attackers and their handlers, and possible locations of the handlers. The JIT was given access to 16 witnesses in the case, including Punjab Police superintendent of police Salwinder Singh.
The NIA had asked the JIT for voice samples of Masood Azhar, his brother Rauf, and Kashif Jaan, who it says was among the handlers. The NIA also told them to take action against Maulana Massod Azhar in this case.
The agency believes that there is a mischievous section in Pakistan that wants to create confusion about the JIT’s visit.
“The JIT members avoided facing the media when they were in India. And now these reports are coming from Pakistan quoting JIT sources in which questions have been raised on the evidence gathered by the NIA. I think we should wait for an official reaction from Pakistan to get its formal position on the JIT visit,” the Home Ministry official said.