Pakistan Agreed Its JIT Won't Get Access to Military Personnel

According to the methodology and timeframe of JIT, it would interview key witnesses and victims related to the investigation.

Published: 07th April 2016 07:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2016 07:19 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Pakistan had agreed ahead of its Joint Investigation Team's visit to India that it would not get access to any of the defence personnel involved in the counteroffensive against the perpetrators of the Pathankot Air Force Station attack.

"It was agreed much in advance of Pakistan's JIT's visit that they would not get access to any defence personnel involved in Pathankot operation," a Home Ministry official said.

According to the Terms of Reference for the recent visit of JIT, it was to interview key witnesses and victims of Pathankot terror attack but there was no mention of access to military or any other security personnel.

Pakistan had yesterday said India did not produce witnesses belonging to the security forces before the JIT. "The JIT visited the crime scene and also recorded the statements of some witnesses. However, the witnesses belonging to the Indian security forces were not produced before it," said the Pakistan Foreign Office, in its first statement on theteam's return from India.

The Terms of Reference for the visit say the JIT would collect, review and document physical evidence regarding the Pathankot incident, collect pieces of forensic evidence for possible matching with specimens of relevant individuals in Pakistan.

The team would collect, collate, analyse and document electronic/ digital evidence, visit crime scene and other relevant places related to Pathankot investigation, it says.

"The JIT would share with Indian counterparts details of investigation conducted by it upto the time of the visit, get briefing from National Investigation Agency of India about the investigation conducted by them besides performing any other task associated with the investigation," it said.

According to the methodology and timeframe of JIT, it would interview key witnesses and victims related to the investigation.

"It will visit crime scene and other relevant places associated with the investigation and collect necessary physical, forensic, digital and other evidence available or in possession of the Indian authorities.

"The JIT will process evidence in the most professional manner and establish a chain of custody to ensure admissibility of evidence in the relevant court of law. The JIT intends to stay in India for about a week from the date of its arrival," it said.

As per the Terms of Reference, the Government of India was to make arrangements to ensure a smooth and successful JIT visit.

Under it, India was to take all necessary steps to ensure security of JIT members and material in their possession and provide access to key witnesses relevant to the investigation and their timely availability. The India side was also to make available all evidence in its possession to enable building of a strong prosecution case in Pakistan.

India was to also facilitate the JIT's visit to the scene of crime and other relevant places and provide appropriate working environment to enable it to carry out its work.

The Pakistan government constituted the JIT on February 25, 2016 under Section 19(I) of its Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 to conduct investigation into the January 2 attack on the Pathankot airbase.

This came after an FIR was registered (No. 06/16) on February 18, 2016 at the police station counter terrorism department, Gujranwala under Section 302, 324, 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and section 7, 21-1 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The FIR contains information provided by India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Nasir Khan Janjua.

Aitzaz-ud-Din, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan, is the complainant of the case.

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