Finally, the opportunity has arrived that India will make return re-visit to Pakistan to investigate that January’s deadly attack on the Pathankot’s Air Force base was the work of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed and its chief, Masood Azhar.
Pakistan, whose own representatives have just toured the Pathankot base, “welcomes the decision”, said Sharad Kumar, the head of the National Investigation Agency.
Even military personnel were killed after a group of Pakistanis crossed the border into Punjab and then journeyed to the base in two cars, one seized from a taxi driver whose throat was slit, and another from a senior police officer.
In response to India’s grievances, Pakistan has sealed various offices of the Jaish, but has not confirmed media sources of Azhar being placed under house arrest.
Nevertheless, the National Investigation Agency has asked for access to Azhar and voice samples for him and his top cohorts, said Home Ministry sources.
In fact, senior government sources in Islamabad have told to one of the media house that they are not sure where Azhar is – or even if he’s in the country.
It was factors like this that promoted the government to allow the Pakistani team of five members, including one from its super-powerful military intelligence service, the ISI, to visit the base at Pathankot, said sources.
But sources in Delhi say that by giving Pakistani officials direct access to much of the evidence – they were allowed to question Salwinder Singh, the policeman whose vehicle was car-jacked by the terrorists, for example – they have deprived Islamabad of the opportunity to claim that it was not given credible information that establishes the attack was carried out by its citizens.
However, Opposition parties like the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party or AAP excoriated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “an alliance with the ISI”; the intel agency has repeatedly been blamed by India for secretly facilitating some of its worst terror attacks.