Pakistani team finds no evidence of JeM chief’s involvement in Pathankot assault

Published: February 8, 2016


ISLAMABAD: A team constituted by Pakistan to investigate last month’s deadly attack on an Indian airbase has concluded that there is no substantive evidence to suggest Maulana Masood Azhar, the head of the outlawed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant group, ordered or masterminded the assault.

Six gunmen attacked an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2, leading to a three-day-long standoff that killed seven soldiers. New Delhi had claimed that the attackers belonged to the JeM and they had sneaked in from southern Punjab district of Bahawalpur. The claim was based on mobile communication the Indian spy agencies had intercepted between the attackers and their alleged handlers in Pakistan.

Pathankot attack: Pakistan to send special investigation team to India

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) after India shared the ‘leads’ with Pakistan.

Subsequently, a crackdown was launched in Punjab against the JeM, its headquarters was sealed and dozens of activists detained. The SIT has since been working on the Indian ‘leads’. It is also expected to visit India to study the evidence the Indians have.

Now, The Express Tribune has learnt from officials privy to the SIT investigations that Pakistani authorities have conveyed to New Delhi that there was no substantial evidence that could prove the involvement of Maulana Azhar in the Pathankot assault.

Premier Nawaz, who held two important meetings with the military leadership last week, along with his National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, had given the go-ahead for sharing the SIT findings with India, according to credible sources. Accordingly, Janjua contacted his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval to update him on the SIT probe and to work out possible dates for talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries.

Pakistan’s civil and military leadership was informed that India wanted Pakistan to implicate Maulana Masood Azhar and his top aides in the Pathankot attack, sources said. The evidence of JeM’s alleged involvement was also shared by India with the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Japan. And New Delhi had somehow managed to get an assurance from these countries that Islamabad would take action against the JeM leadership.

Pathankot attack probe: India confident of Pakistan’s assistance

According to sources, the SIT informed the civil and military leadership in a last week meeting that the Indian evidence was insufficient to implicate Maulana Azhar. The SIT had sought further information from India which it refused to share. However, the team did not rule out involvement of some low cadre members of the JeM, saying that too could be established only if New Delhi shared the information they have asked for.

Sources said Janjua told Doval that the SIT was ready to visit to India but New Delhi should not pin high hopes on the team which has already completed his investigations based on the ‘leads’ provided by India. Janjua told the civil and military leadership that India was pushing for the SIT visit before the foreign secretary-level talks in an effort to sooth frayed tempers at home.

On its part Janjua has conveyed to his Indian counterpart that Pakistan was ready to welcome Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar before or after the SIT visit, sources said. “Now the ball is in India’s court. India will have to take a decision on the foreign secretary-level talks and hence the future of the peace process,” one source added.

SIT Convener Rai Tahir confirmed to The Express Tribune that they have sought more information from India on the Pathankot attack which it has not provided thus far. About SIT’s India’s visit, he said it was for the government to decide.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th,  2016.

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Reader Comments (60)

  • Sid
    Feb 8, 2016 - 8:05AM

    India needs to start sending assault team in Pakistan to eliminate those people and then keep asking Pakistan for proof. Time to speak in language which Pakistan understands.Recommend

  • BlackHat
    Feb 8, 2016 - 8:08AM

    Back to square one!Recommend

  • ghazal
    Feb 8, 2016 - 8:32AM

    no Quetta shura, no Mumbai, no ABBOTTABAD NO NUCLEAR sale, as expected. can any body be blame for image which precedes Pakistan , do Pakistan really think world should believe it .Recommend

  • Fawad
    Feb 8, 2016 - 8:37AM

    Most of already knew the outcome. As with previous case, court ruled out taking voice sample to match audio recording, it was expected. Police interrogates people, to obtain evidence sometimes even tortures them. But getting voice sample is that so difficult? If that can’t be done, nothing else can be. Recommend

  • Hameed
    Feb 8, 2016 - 8:40AM

    As expected strategic assets are off the hook.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Feb 8, 2016 - 8:54AM

    If Modi thought that Pakistan will behave like any lawful state, he mud have been disabused of that notion now. The only option is to make Pakistan feel the same pain and use the cut by a thousand strategy against it. Recommend

  • Skywalker
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:04AM

    Back to square one. Bye bye future talks. And let us not whine to the US that India does not want to talk. Recommend

  • Point
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:27AM

    Yes you need to fulfill your fake desires. Time for Bollywood help again!!Recommend

  • Talking Point
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:29AM

    @Sid: that wont be too difficult with the way weekly attacks happen there esp against the very same safe security forces. ” india should not have high hopes” , ” involvement of low level jem cannot be ruled out” – what more is required to show the closed minds of the. Pak ‘ investigators ‘ in a army ruled state . Recommend

  • Azi
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:32AM


    You are welcome to try. I would suggest however to send some one better than the ones who at best are capable of only catching spy birds, camels, or planets. Also avoid sending the forces that take 4 days to clear out a military installation.

    Yea send in forces that become terrified of hearing pakistan while you yourself are comfy on your arm chair.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:32AM

    @Sid: when bro when is ur government going to speak in ”that” language” forget it. i have seen people like u screaming on top of their voices to speak the language we understand but u always fails to, but see we know the language u understand and above is an example of that. how difficult it is for you to deal with us, except screaming, threatening, shouting, on grounds u guyz have to settled other side of the border calmly waiting for us to do something.and we will keep giving u this.Recommend

  • lalai
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:34AM

    How amazing the contrast is between the investigations of Uzair Baloch and Masood Azhar. The former is singing like a nightingale and the later is complete innocent. Recommend

  • salman
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:37AM

    @Sid . If India had option , they would have done it already. Sincerity is expected from your side too . Baluchistan and Karachi Unrest is not a fairy tale. Get a life ! Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:39AM

    Was it because the Pakistani team knew where not to look?Recommend

  • azmat
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:53AM

    As if they are not doing it already :))
    We very well know who is funding terrorism in Pakistan through a different channel. Even if India is not sending its own personnel, it still is sending its proxies to create havoc in Pakistan. So stop threatening us with “speak in language which Pakistan understands”. Recommend

  • Last Word
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:56AM

    Fully agree with your comment. The Defence minister Parriker hinted on action across the border a couple of days back. Hope, it is carried out sooner than later. Enough is enough.Recommend

  • Salaar khan
    Feb 8, 2016 - 10:10AM

    Sid, One needs to think before using such big words SENDING ASSAULT TEAMS….. lol. I hope you know the capability of your forces. Need to come out of bollywood, its real world son. Recommend

  • Milind
    Feb 8, 2016 - 10:13AM

    @Azi – ” I would suggest however to send some one better than the ones who at best are capable of only catching spy birds, camels, or planets.”

    Catching spy birds, camels is still better, than having your air force chief sleeping like a log through the night, unaware that US Navy Seals, smoke out the world’s most wanted fugitive from the middle of your army cantonment in Abbottabad.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Feb 8, 2016 - 10:16AM

    “No substantive evidence” — we should understand what it means as opposed to “No evidence”. It also means Pakistan is not interested in reigning in its strategic assets and has mortgaged its future to them. Let citizens who suffer blow back be damned.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Feb 8, 2016 - 10:26AM

    India will definitely send assault force and it has not done till now that doesn’t mean it will not do it if pakistan keep continuing this attitude .Pakistan will face the wrath it it doesn’t change its attitude and no nuclear can help it.Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 8, 2016 - 10:29AM

    Seriously??this country will never understand.Recommend

  • Feb 8, 2016 - 10:37AM

    It was an inside job like many others that happened in the past. Recommend

  • Islamic Thekedar
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:07AM

    On the expected line.
    Nice try Mr. Modi.Recommend

  • web dev
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:08AM

    I think back to the innocent people that die for no fault of theirs. No matter where they are. Just sad. Recommend

  • Azeez
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:08AM

    @Milind: well said.Recommend

  • Sid
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:33AM

    If which is a big IF what you allege is true then I am sad that my government is not able to use these proxies to target right people. I wonder.Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:35AM

    ok send the assault team.
    btw, assault teams of india couldnt cleared the base by 6 militants for 3 days despite being on their home ground with all supplies. i doubt that assault teams can help on pakistani soil. india should do what it does best. make noise and dont play cricketRecommend

  • Tyggar
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:35AM

    What did one expect? Pakistan doesn’t even know who killed Benazir Bhutto till nowRecommend

  • Sid
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:35AM

    @Salaar khan:
    Capability of my forces broke your country into half and imprisoned 93000 of your personals in 1971 war.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 8, 2016 - 12:28PM

    Did anyone expect anything else.Recommend

  • goldconsumer
    Feb 8, 2016 - 1:07PM

    Who do you think TTP are? Recommend

  • goldconsumer
    Feb 8, 2016 - 1:09PM

    You are already following that strategy. We humble Pakistanis just try to return that favour.Recommend

  • da Vinci, LA
    Feb 8, 2016 - 2:34PM

    You are too naive to believe this fantasy. It was KGB’s capability, not your forces’. Your forces just chose to look away and agreed shamelessly to become a tool with which KGB did play. This is your forces’ capability … to be used by someone.Recommend

  • Quomi Dude
    Feb 8, 2016 - 2:36PM


    Bhai…. wait for things…. We can infiltrate your groups and continue your war on terror for another 2 decades thus downing your economy…… your children will come to work in china and IRAN And even India for work 1-2 generations from now…..and you can be happy thinking that we are not crossing your border…Recommend

  • cautious
    Feb 8, 2016 - 3:40PM

    @Sid: Your anger is understandable but I doubt India has the will to send anti terrorist assault teams into Pakistan. Best leverage is to make it clear to the Chinese that India can/will do everything it it’s power to contest CPEC.Recommend

  • Feb 8, 2016 - 3:45PM

    Indian media start shouting without any evidence. They simply just want to blame Pakistan without evidence !Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Feb 8, 2016 - 3:46PM

    Hahaha. Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 8, 2016 - 3:58PM

    Ok fine, then Pak Govt should arrest Hassan Salahudin of Mutahida Jihad COuncil who accept responsbility of Pathakout attack few days back in a live press conf at Muzaffarabad AJK ??? Recommend

  • James
    Feb 8, 2016 - 4:58PM


    :) ok, let the story continue, India doesn’t care. We are on right track of progress and development while Pak proxy war continues. We keep some money aside every year, have budget sorted and we expect this from Pak as we now have experience of understanding Paks behavior. So no worries bro, you continue your way and we continue our way.

    We are strong, patient and determined people and we know our priorities.


  • Hamid
    Feb 8, 2016 - 5:17PM

    Meaningful investigation can only be based on meaningful and detailed evidence. India cannot point fingers and cite rhetoric to build a case for arrest.

    Pakistan acted based on limited evidence provided by India, yet India always refuses to share any meaningful details.

    For all we know, it could be a false flag operation by Indian intelligence. So verifiable and detailed evidence is necessary.

    Once again it seems India is more interested in PR theatrics rather than contribute to the investigation.Recommend

  • Menon
    Feb 8, 2016 - 5:29PM

    Of course, he was not physically present. Why would coward Saeed risk his own life? He has plenty of idiots in his payroll willing to kill themselves for this cward.

    India should cancel all diplomatic contact with Pakistan and expel Pakistan mission completely. India should also start backing Balichi separatists in earnest and seperate it from Pakistan. Only choice India has is to dismantle Pakistan one piece at a time.Recommend

  • Not surprised
    Feb 8, 2016 - 5:49PM

    This is no surprise…Surprise is only when Pakistan would have found and taken decisive action which requires will.Recommend

  • Salaar khan
    Feb 8, 2016 - 7:37PM

    I guess you are unaware of the history, in 71 Pakistan had very few regular army units over there, that too without any major equipment, while India had three corps plus hundred thousand of muktis. Skirmishes with India and Muktis had started from March till Dec 71. Our forces kept fighting in a hostile territory, 1600 km away without any supplies for so long.Your army could not dare to attack till december. So that was not your capability, we have witnessed your capability in Kashmir and Pathankot and…………Recommend

  • k k khan
    Feb 8, 2016 - 9:58PM

    good newsRecommend

  • BlackHat
    Feb 8, 2016 - 10:07PM

    @Hassan: At least you are honest. This is what you have been giving. You are sitting at home! Let’s see if you have the guts to explode your self. And you are a success story!Recommend

  • SRK
    Feb 8, 2016 - 10:22PM

    If same proof would have been given by US , the result of Pakistani investigation would have been different.Recommend

  • k k khan
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:16PM

    Masood Azhar should demand apology from Govt. of IndiaRecommend

  • Sandip
    Feb 8, 2016 - 11:33PM

    @Salaar khan: We surely do. Last time we decided to use the full force, we buried Pakistan in the Bay of Bengal. Hope your doctored history informs you as much.Recommend

  • someone
    Feb 9, 2016 - 12:04AM

    Thats an easy thing to do. However it does not solve the purpose. You kill one, there would be a next one standing in the ranks to take over. The idea should be to get rid of entire organization.Also this guys serves a purpose. When guys like these roam in Pakistan freely, it gives a chance to India to show the world that Pakistan is a hot bed of terrorism and state is not just unable to do anything, pretty much the definition of failed state, but also is hand in hand with these elements. Moreover, by killing him , India would do a favor to Pakistan. May be Pakistan wants to eliminate this guy but can’t because of the fear of backlash. if India kills this guy, Pakistan would be relieved and then also would have a chance to redirect the Jihadis towards India. This guy is useful to India as long as it is alive. What India needs to do is to enhance border security. It is clear that current security apparatus is not very efficient. Also, India need to keep moving in diplomatic circles to put pressure on them to handle Pakistan more efficiently, mainly work towards economic sanctions, like North Korea.When that happens, either Pakistan would have to comply or India would have ample of time to take out the people like these.Recommend

  • observer
    Feb 9, 2016 - 1:30AM

    Actually the Indians should be happy that Azhar, Hafeez Saeed etc. terrorists will never be prosecuted but instead receive state support as strategic assets. These terrorists, in the large picture, will damage and destabilize Pakistan more than India and bring international opprobrium disrepute against Pakistan.Recommend

  • someone
    Feb 9, 2016 - 1:41AM

    David Headley is singing like a canary in US court. What did you guys do about that? Zilch. Recommend

  • R.Subramanian
    Feb 9, 2016 - 2:35AM

    To get complete evidence (which Pakistan is not capable or not willing) India has to send its team to Pakistan and nab the culprits and get the evidence that Pakistan needed. Whether Pakistan will allow Indian team to investigate in Pakistan and arrest the culprits with evidence.Recommend

  • David Salmon
    Feb 9, 2016 - 2:55AM

    The question is not whether “Indian evidence” shows the involvement of JeM and Maulana Azhar in the Pathankot assault. The question is whether PAKISTANI evidence, gathered after investigation of JeM and Maulana Azhar, shows their involvement.

    If Pakistan confines its answer to “India has not proved its case,” i.e., “[The SIT has] already completed [its] investigations based on the ‘leads’ provided by India,” it will violate its pledge to India to transparently investigate and stop cross-border attacks.

    If the SIT team has not used every resource to find evidence in Pakistan concerning the Pathankot attack, and reported the same transparently, India will have good cause to believe Pakistan’s pledge has been dishonored.Recommend

  • Malik Mohammed Israr
    Feb 9, 2016 - 4:44AM

    At least now India should stop the blame game and accept the legitimate aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Until then further attacks will continue. Recommend

  • ramdar
    Feb 9, 2016 - 8:19AM

    Government of India has intelligent people who know how to deal with Pakistan & they are doing their job well. Your jingoistic advise is not required. It does not help India, only shows your immaturity & obsession with Pakistan. Grow up. Recommend

  • Pragmtic
    Feb 9, 2016 - 10:39AM

    Dear James, you are on the right track of Development ? Acquiring a Nuclear sub,marine while 55 percent of your population does not have toilets. ? Sending space probe while your 37 percent of population earn less than a dollar a day ? No idea where you getting thiis notion of putting money aside, while India has a trade deficit of 55 billion dollars for the past two decades. Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Feb 9, 2016 - 1:17PM

    Best way to deal is to follow what Indian defence minister Parikar says “Give pain to the people who inflict pain on you”. Let the Pakistani TV analysts keep on analysing it…Recommend

  • BlackHat
    Feb 9, 2016 - 3:45PM

    @Pragmtic: You are right about India sending spacecraft to Mars and such like that, when they don’t even have toilets and people are so poor. Many are still to appreciate, Pakistan being a wealthy country with everyone having toilets and plenty to eat, the number of human souls launched to outer space to enjoy blissful after life (72) forever. May be the all governments should adopt similar strategy so their people can enjoy the same blissful afterlife, instead of trying to provide social welfare in the present life. That would be so much fun – no studying or working. So cool …Recommend

  • Lihm
    Feb 9, 2016 - 4:27PM

    Your comment is based on the faulty assumption and Indian fantasy that the Pakistani army didn’t know the Americans were coming to conduct a raid on Abbottabad.Recommend

  • ramdar
    Feb 9, 2016 - 7:58PM

    ET- Very amusing header ( No involvement of JeM chief’s involvement)! Did anyone expect head of JeM to get directly involved & leave behind proof of his involvement?
    Indian leads prove that this terrorist act was planed & executed from Pakistan. It is in the interest of Pakistan to find more from its soil. Recommend

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