NEW DELHI: “There is an attempt to mess everything up on the Pakistani side,” quipped a senior government officer immediately after a Pak media report quoting Pakistani unnamed member of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) termed the Pathankot terror attack at the Air Force base ‘a drama staged by India to malign Pakistan’.
The report was enough to trigger a political storm in New Delhi with opposition launching an all-out attack against the NDA government for inviting JIT investigators to India for probe despite opposition by the political parties.
Though, officials in the security establishment put up a brave front saying that they would never respond to the charges made by Pakistani media and would rather wait for an official comment from Pakistan, they nervously admitted that it could be an ‘ISI-inspired plant’ to create political controversy in India and divert the attention from the outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed and its Chief Masood Azhar.
Pakistani media report quoting sources privy to JIT report said, “Indian authorities had prior information about the attackers and India used the attack as a tool to expand its vicious propaganda against Pakistan without having any solid evidence to back the claim.”
Sources in the Indian security establishment rejected the claim saying that they have tried to bring a lot of clarity to the entire investigation process and the Pakistan JIT made a trip after registering a case under relevant sections which allows them to probe cases abroad involving Pakistani nationals.
“Pakistan has registered a case of crime that happened in India and that is why all the evidence starting from their travel to Pakistan to carrying out the strike to their conversations with Pak-based handlers and the DNA samples of slain terrorists have all been provided to the Pakistani side and none of this can be brushed aside. They had admitted that the attackers were indeed from Pakistan after call interception with the handlers was shared at the highest level,” sources said.
Another senior official told Express that there is an attempt by elements in Pakistan to create confusion. He made it clear that such an approach by Islamabad could mean a complete pause on bilateral dialogue.
He also said that the Pakistan JIT refused to take a look at the bodies of the terrorists killed in Pathankot encounter.
“We will not fall into Pakistan’s trap. They were offered to take a look at the bodies of the Pakistani terrorists but the Pak team declined it. JIT wanted some additional information regarding the case which was provided to them. We have also provided the identity of four terrorists for matching the DNA report with family members, the official said.
Meanwhile, Congress and AAP slammed the government for falling in Pakistan’s trap. Congress claimed its stand opposing ISI at Pathankot was vindicated.
“We stand vindicated opposing ISI at Pathankot. Serious diplomacy is not as simple as attending a wedding.,” Congress’ Randeep S Surjewala said.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal targeted PM Narendra Modi seeking his apology. He said that inviting Pakistani JIT to probe Pathankot attack was a “monumental failure”.