Pak may delay visit of Pathankot probe team

Pak may delay visit of Pathankot probe team

Pakistan is likely to delay the visit of its Special Investigation Team (AIT) to India to probe the terror attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab.

Islamabad is learnt to have conveyed to New Delhi that it would rather wait for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India to conclude the probe, before sending its own team.

Pakistan apparently decided to delay the visit of its investigators to India after New Delhi made it clear that they would not be given access to the “scene of crime” — the IAF base at Pathankot in Punjab.

Indian officials in touch with Pakistan government said that the investigators from the neighbouring country were now expected to visit New Delhi only after conclusion of the probe by the NIA. They would hold meetings with the NIA investigators and explore ways for cooperation to bring to justice the plotters of the attack in Pakistan, apart from exchanging information and evidence. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is in touch with his counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua to finalise the “Terms of Reference” of Pakistani probe team’s visit to India. “We hope that Pakistan will probe, may be because of pressure on it from the international community. The SIT (from Pakistan), however, will not be allowed to enter the airbase,” Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Defence, said on Tuesday.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, too, last Saturday indicated New Delhi’s reluctance to allow the Pakistani SIT to visit the military facility in Pathankot, ostensibly because it was a forward airbase, where the IAF had stationed its “strategic assets”.

Islamabad earlier told New Delhi that its probe team should ideally be allowed to visit the “scene of crime” as it is necessary for building up a strong case in the court against the Jaish-e-Mohammed operatives, who were arrested in Pakistan in connection with the terror strike on the airbase in India.

New Delhi last week agreed to host the Pakistani SIT and welcomed Islamabad’s crackdown on JeM terror plotters in the neighbouring country.

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