Pathankot Investigation: JIT to leave for New Delhi today

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LAHORE: All arrangements are in place for Pakistan’s Join Investigation Team (JIT) to cross the border into India to probe the militant attack at the Indian Airbase.

Indian authorities issued visas for the five-man investigation team on Friday.

Pakistani investigators according to sources, will travel to New Delhi via a special flight and will remain in India for seven days to investigate the Pathankot Airbase attack.

According to Indian media reports, the Pakistani team will have limited access to interview eye witnesses but will not be allowed to interview any security personnel.

Media reports also claim that the JIT will have restricted access to the crime scene and sensitive areas of the Pathankot airbase will be sealed.

The JIT comprising of military and civil intelligence agencies and headed by chief of Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Additional IG Muhammad Tahir will have limited access to Air Force Base in Pathankot during their investigation.

The team would also have no access to SP Gurdaspur Salwindar Singh, who was abducted by militants on December 31 last year before the attack on the Pathankot Airbase near the Pakistan border.

The JIT will reach New Delhi on March 27 and is expected to start investigation on March 28.

The announcement of the key decision to send the JIT was made in Pokhara earlier this month, where foreign ministers and foreign secretaries were gathered for the 37th Saarc Council of Ministers Meeting.

The meeting between Pakistan’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was the first high-level meeting between the two sides after the December 25 meeting between the two prime ministers in Lahore.

Speaking to the media, Swaraj had said that it was not possible that Pathankot be not discussed in her meeting with Aziz.

 “The date for the JIT visit has been decided. We talked on Pathankot also and I am happy to say that the dates of the visit of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) have been fixed. They will reach India on the night of March 27 and will begin their work on 28,” Swaraj said.

Aziz complimented the way the Pathankot issue was handled and cooperation extended on both sides. He hoped that this cooperation will pave the way for “good results”.

The JIT constituted by the Punjab government will work on the basis of an FIR registered in Gujranwala on February 18 under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.

The five-member team is led by Additional IG Counter Terrorism Department Punjab Rai Tahir. Other members include Intelligence Bureau’s Additional Director Lahore Azeem Arshad, Lt Col Tanvir Ahmad from the ISI, Lt Col Irfan Mirza from the MI, and CTD Inspector Shahid Tanvir .