Pak probe team arrives in India on March 27
PATHANKOT ATTACK They can go wherever needed, says minister Kiren Rijiju
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.
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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.