NEW DELHI: Pakistan is back to its old tricks in the Pathankot probe as it indicated that an Indian probe team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is unlikely to be allowed to visit the country to pick up evidence and grill culprits behind the terror strike at the Pathankot air force base. Ruling out the NIA’s hope of grilling Masood Azhar and other Pathankot handlers, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said the whole investigation was not about reciprocity, but cooperation between the two countries. “It is very difficult for me to say, but at this stage, the whole investigation is not about question of reciprocity in my view. It is more about extending cooperation or our two countries cooperating with each other to get to the bottom of the incident,” Basit said.
When asked by reporters whether he was ruling out NIA investigators’ visit to Pakistan, Basit said; “I leave it to your imagination. This whole incident in not about reciprocity, it is about cooperating with each other and let’s hope that the spirit of cooperation is retained in the days and weeks ahead.” Basit’s comment is being viewed as Pakistan reverting to its old ways to sabotage the probe and protect terrorists responsible for attacks on India. An outraged Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) quickly responded to Pakistan’s shocking move asserting that the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was allowed to visit India only after both the countries agreed on reciprocity.
“The Ministry would like to clarify that on March 26, 2016, before the visit of the JIT, the Indian High Commission formally conveyed to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that the terms of reference ‘are broadly agreed to with the proviso that these would be on the basis of reciprocity and followed in accordance with extant legal provisions. Subsequently, the JIT visited from March 27 to April 1, 2016,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. The NIA had 6-day discussions with the Pakistan JIT, which visited Pathankot to gather evidence. After the JIT’s visit, the NIA chief Kumar had announced that an Indian investigation team would be sent to Pakistan for probe since the conspiracy has been hatched there.
Kumar also said the Pakistan JIT members had welcomed the idea and the dates were to be worked out later.