Pathankot witnesses from Indian forces not produced before JIT, says Pakistan

Islamabad/New Delhi, April 6: Pakistan on Wednesday said its Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that was in India to probe the Pathankot attack had visited the "crime scene" but witnesses from the Indian security forces were not produced before the probe team.

A day after India dismissed a report in Pakistan Today, quoting sources in the JIT that the January 2 attack on the Pathankot Indian Air Force base was stage-managed by India, a statement from the Pakistan foreign office said the JIT had visited India from March 27 to April 1, 2016 for "investigating the allegations regarding the attack on Pathankot airbase, India".

Pathankot attack

"The visit started with a presentation given by the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) regarding its investigations so far.

"The JIT visited the crime scene and also recorded the statements of some witnesses. However, the witnesses belonging to the Indian security forces were not produced before it.

"The JIT briefed the NIA on progress of investigations in Pakistan. Further investigations are underway.

"The visit of the JIT to India took place in the context of the cooperative approach being pursued by the government of Pakistan as part of its commitment to effectively fight terrorism in all its forms," the statement said.

Earlier, a Pakistan Today report quoting sources in the JIT said "the Indian authorities had prior information about the attackers" but the country used the incident as a tool to expand its "vicious propaganda".

"India used the attack as a tool to expand its "vicious propaganda" against Pakistan 'without having any solid evidence to back the claim'," the source told the newspaper.

India on Tuesday dismissed the Pakistan Today report as "total concoction", while union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said no one, including people in Pakistan, will believe that the Pathankot attack was stage-managed by India.

The January 2 attack was carried out by Jaish-e-Mohamed terrorists from Pakistan, in which seven Indian security force personnel were killed.

The attack has led to stalling of the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, which had been kick-started by a visit to Pakistan late last year by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and a December 25 stop-over visit to Lahore by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which he held talks over tea with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

During Sushma Swaraj's visit to Islamabad and her meeting with the Pakistani leadership, including Sharif, both sides had agreed to resume the stalled dialogue -- which they called Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.

The modalities of holding the dialogue, including a section on tackling terrorism, was to be discussed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries in January this year. But the Pathankot attack has put a spanner in the process.

Sharif has directed a high level team to probe the "specific and actionable" evidence provided by India.


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