Activists of India’s main opposition party, Indian National Congress, on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration outside Pathankot airbase against the visit by a Pakistan-based Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe January 2 terror assault, Indian media reported.
Earlier, security was tightened outside the Pathankot airbase ahead of the JIT’s arrival. The five-member team entered the base through a separate entrance created for their visit.
Rare investigation: Pakistan’s JIT to visit Pathankot airbase today
The JIT members, which include Punjab Counter Terrorism Chief Additional IG Muhammad Tahir, Azeem Rashid, Lieutenant Colonel Tanveer, Lieutenant Colonel Irfan Miza and Inspector Shahid Mirza, were brought to the base in bullet-proof SUVs after landing in Amritsar today.
Meanwhile, right-wing Hindu extremist organisation Shiv Sena criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allowing the Pakistani investigation team to visit the Indian airbase to carry out investigations.
Pathankot attack probe: Pakistan, Indian investigators start formal deliberations
“The hospitality we have shown to Pakistan JIT does not suit our country’s self-respect and pride,” Sena MP in India’s upper house of the parliament, Sajnay Raut, said.
Hospitality we have shown to Pakistan JIT does not suit our country's self respect and pride: Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena pic.twitter.com/UqEvanhynM— ANI (@ANI) March 29, 2016
Right after the January 2 attack, in which seven Indian troops were killed, New Delhi had blamed the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group. Subsequently, Pakistan mounted a crackdown against Jaish and formed a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the Indian claim but New Delhi had been reluctant to allow the JIT to visit the base and collect evidence.
However, the team was finally given permission and met India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials. Upon their arrival in New Delhi, the JIT was given a ‘90-minute briefing’ by the NIA officials on the evidence collected so far, including the route of infiltration over the India-Pakistan border, identities of the dead attackers, and the information that links them to the alleged Jaish facilitators in Pakistan.
Pakistan-based JIT arrives in New Delhi to probe Pathankot attack
“We have pinned the route taken by the terrorists on a map and will be presenting it before the JIT. The riverine route and the village through which they entered along Pakistan border have all been identified by us,” said an official.
It will, however, not be allowed to speak to NSG, BSF or military personnel, who were present during the attack. They will also not be able to move freely around the base and will be restricted to the area that the terrorists had been in, officials said.
This is the first time India has allowed a team from Pakistan to carry out an investigation of this kind at such a sensitive location.