Last week, Pakistan reported a handler in the Pathankot attack had escaped to Afghanistan. This handler who was on the phone line with the terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air base was crucial to the probe. When the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team had visited India, the NIA had said that they would want this man to be questioned as he is the most important link to the case.
It has now been established by the Indian Intelligence agencies that the handler had left Pakistan with the help of the Pakistan's ISI. This is not a slip, it is deliberate, an official with the IB informed OneIndia.
Deliberate- not a slip:
We can say with confidence based on our own investigation that this handler was deliberately moved out of Pakistan. As long as he was in Pakistan, the pressure to at least question him was there. However now with the Pakistan media stating that this handler had fled to Afghanistan, Pakistan can always quote jurisdictional difficulties and avoid questioning him.
This entire episode has however not come as a surprise to India. This is classic Pakistan which on one hand offers help and then backtracks. The entire drama has been staged to frustrate the probe, India says while it awaits a nod from Pakistan so that the NIA team could visit that country.
Revealing to the Pakistan media that the man who gave instructions has fled is just one step taken by Pakistan to slow down the probe. Further stating that Masood Azhar had disowned him is a way of absolving the man's organisation of the charge.
Frustrating the probe:
There have been deliberations all along regarding this attack and also the investigations surrounding it. First and foremost, the Pakistan's JIT says that calls made from Pakistan alone cannot be a basis of proof. Pakistan has said anyone can make that call. The terrorists are said to have made a call to their handler in Pakistan. The Pakistan investigating agency feels that anyone can call a Jaish-e-Mohammad number and there is no evidence to show it was the terrorists who made that phone call.
The JIT has already rejected the claim by the NIA that it was Nasir a terrorist who called his mother. How has the NIA ascertained that Nasir had indeed gone from Pakistan to India is another point that the JIT posed. Further the NIA had not told the JIT exactly from where the terrorists had entered is yet again another contention.
Intelligence Bureau officials say that with Pakistan probing terror is more often than not a wasted exercise. They from day one had made up their mind to shoot down the investigations conducted in India point by point. It is clear that they are trying to shift the blame away from the Jaish-e-Mohammad and make it appear as though India had fabricated the entire case, the officer also noted.