Pak probe team ar­rives in In­dia on March 27

PATHANKOT AT­TACK They can go wher­ever needed, says min­is­ter Kiren Ri­jiju

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ut­pal Parashar let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

A team of Pak­istani in­ves­ti­ga­tors will ar­rive in In­dia late on March 27 to in­ves­ti­gate the Pathankot air­base ter­ror­ist at­tack, the first time that in­tel­li­gence and law- en­force­ment op­er­a­tives from the neigh­bour­ing coun­try will con­duct such a probe on In­dian soil.

Ex­ter­nal affairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj an­nounced the joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion team’s (JIT) four-day visit af­ter a meet­ing on Thurs­day with Pak­istan’s for­eign pol­icy chief Sar­taj Aziz on the side­lines of a SAARC meet in the re­sort town of Pokhara.

“It’s not pos­si­ble that I and the Pak­istan for­eign affairs ad­viser meet and the Pathankot is­sue is not taken up. Yes, it was dis­cussed,” Swaraj said. “The JIT will … be­gin its work from March 28.”

Pak­istan cre­ated the five­mem­ber JIT, which in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence, Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence, In­tel­li­gence Bureau and po­lice, in Fe­bru­ary af­ter fil­ing a first in­for­ma­tion re­port (FIR) in con­nec­tion with the at­tack.

The FIR, es­sen­tial for in­ves­ti­ga­tors to travel to In­dia, names uniden­ti­fied at­tack­ers and abet­tors, but In­dia blames Pak­istan­based Jaish-e-Mo­hammed for the Jan­uary 2 at­tack that killed seven peo­ple. Min­is­ter of state for home Kiren Ri­jiju said the JIT would be al­lowed to travel “wher­ever

nec­es­sary” for its probe, clear­ing spec­u­la­tion on whether a team with mem­bers from the Pak­istani spy agency will be al­lowed ac­cess to the strate­gic, fron­tier air­base.

“We have taken an in-prin­ci­ple de­ci­sion to fa­cil­i­tate the visit of a Pak­istani team to In­dia for fur-

ther­ance of our case.”

Spec­u­la­tion swirled af­ter de­fence min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar hinted that the air­base was off-lim­its for the Pak­istani in­ves­ti­ga­tors.



Pak­istan’s for­eign affairs min­is­ter Sar­taj Aziz (left) with ex­ter­nal affairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj at the Saarc sum­mit of for­eign min­is­ters in Pokhara, Nepal, on Thurs­day.

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