India on Friday issued visas to five members of a Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) who will travel to the country on Sunday to carry forward the probe into the >Pathankot IAF base attack , blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants.
“We have issued visas to five Pakistani officials, who will be going to India to get evidence about the Pathankot attack,” an Indian High Commission spokesperson said in Islamabad.
The members of the JIT are scheduled to leave for India on March 27, 2016.
The >five-member team comprises senior officials from both the military intelligence as well as civil administration and is headed by the chief of Punjab counter terrorism department (CTD) additional inspector-general of police Muhammad Tahir Rai.
Other members include Lahore deputy director-general intelligence bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Col. Tanvir Ahmed, military intelligence Lt. Col. Irfan Mirza and Gujjaranwala CTD investigating officer Shahid Tanveer.
This will be the first time that Pakistani intelligence and police officials are travelling to India to investigate a terror attack.
India had agreed to allow the Pakistani JIT to visit the Pathankot Air Base after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz in Kathmandu on the sidelines of SAARC Ministerial meeting on March 17, 2016.
Ms. Swaraj had said that the Pakistani investigators will reach India on March 27, 2016 and will begin their work on March 28.
India has been pressing Pakistan for action over the brazen assault on the key IAF base on January 2, 2016 in which seven Indian security personnel were killed. In the gun-battle, six terrorists were also killed.
The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad.
On February 18, 2016, Pakistan had >lodged an FIR in connection with the Pathankot terror attack without naming JeM chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike.
The FIR by the CTD of (Pakistani) Punjab Police was lodged on the basis of information provided by Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that the attackers crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase.