India base assault: Pakistani investigators weigh probe options

SIT directed to find a feasible approach for solving the case


Abdul Manan January 17, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: As Islamabad is yet to make up its mind about New Delhi’s preconditions for a high-powered Pakistani team that might be sent to Pathankot to probe into the air base assault, Pakistan is optimistic about solving the case.

On January 14, Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup had welcomed the special investigation team (SIT) that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has constituted to probe the January 2 Indian Air Force base attack that left seven soldiers dead.

Pathankot base attack: Pakistan considers sending probe team to India

Two days later, however, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar set a precondition for the SIT, saying the team would not be allowed to enter the Pathankot air base.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has directed the SIT to find a feasible approach for solving the case, a source privy to the development told The Express Tribune.

Insiders said the Prime Minister House has directed the relevant authorities to fill in National Security Adviser Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua on SIT’s options for conducting its investigation.

A member of the probe team said: “The SIT is still hopeful about unravel the attack by using one of its three available options for investigations.”

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A source within the team said that despite India’s precondition, the allegation of involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) – the militant group blamed for the air base assault – could be unfolded through proper investigations.

He said the SIT has three options to carry its investigation forward on the basis of the ‘leads’ India has provided to Pakistan.

Islamabad’s ideal option is Option A: the SIT is allowed to visit the crime scene to analyse the weapons, transportation and communication devices used by the attackers. The probe team is also interested in knowing the modus operandi (MO) of the attackers, as JeM activists are specially trained and have the same MO.

Since India has ruled out the ideal option, there is Option B, which New Delhi has hinted at as its ideal option: the SIT visits the capital to meet the Indian officials probing the airbase attack. Pakistan’s SIT will interact with the Indian investigators, listen to their progress and see their documentary evidence.

NSAs to devise modalities, terms for Pathankot probe team

Option C: the SIT does not visit India and asks the country to send documentary evidence to Pakistan. Referring to the Mumbai attack case, the team’s members said this option was just paperwork and could not be helpful in solving the Pathankot incident.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the SIT was working on Indian leads. “The government is committed to unfolding the Pathankot attack come what may.”

He said if the JeM was found to be involved in the attack, then they would be punished, adding that if SIT’s investigation could not support India’s evidence, then JeM’s detained activists would be released.

Pakistan has mounted a crackdown on the group’s offices and arrested several activists, including JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar.

Meanwhile, India is also interested in sending its high-powered team to Pakistan to interrogate the detained JeM activists, according to PM House sources.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2016.

COMMENTS (5)

Sid | 6 years ago | Reply @sanjay taneja: Azi is very much for real. A real proof of Pakistanis being in perpetual denial.
SKChadha | 6 years ago | Reply Pakistan should also agree to allow Indian team to visit Pakistan, interrogate the detained suspects, suggest further course of investigation, trace leads and conduct investigations to further substantiate the leads/ evidences which are already handed over to Pakistan?
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