Pathankot Attack: Pakistan Probe Team Reaches Air Base Amid Tight Security

29/03/2016 1:56 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 27: A five-member team of Pakistani investigators (JIT) arrives at T-3 airport to carry forward the probe into the brazen Pathankot Air Base attack on March 27, 2016 in New Delhi, India. Joint Investigative Team from Pakistan comprising representatives from the powerful Inter Services Intelligence or ISI, Military Intelligence and Police arrived in Delhi today. The team from Pakistan formed on instructions of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be the site of the terror strike and will also question the witnesses. Six Pakistani terrorists who had crossed over into Punjab were killed in the attack. The National Investigation Agency says it has established the identities of those six but also those who regulated their actions from Pakistani soil. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

PATHANKOT -- The Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) accompanied by Indian officials today headed for Pathankot in connection with the probe into the 2 January terror attack at IAF base.

The five-member Pakistani team led by Punjab's Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai landed at Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport in Amritsar and left for Pathankot.

Following inputs from the Ministry of Home Affairs about a possible threat to the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) by the Islamic fundamentalist organizations based in Pakistan and their proxies in India, the Punjab Police has made arrangements to provide 25 bulletproof cars to ferry them and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials in Pathankot and areas close to the border.

JIT and National Investigation Agency (NIA) will take stock of the probe into the Pathankot terror attack, officials said.

Punjab Police was escorting the convoy of the Pakistani team which also has ISI's Lt Col rank officer Tanvir Ahmed, Lahore's Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Military Intelligence Lt Col Irfan Mirza and Gujaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.

Police officials said they have diligently barricaded areas around the IAF facility .

"The district police has been informed about the visit and deployments have been done accordingly," a senior police official said.

A large police contingent has been deployed in and around Dhangu village where the IAF base is located.

Meanwhile, Congress workers staged a protest near the air base against the visit by the Pakistani investigators.

Government has made it clear that the Pakistani team will have "restricted" access to the air base with the NIA taking them to selected areas where the over 80-hour gun battle led to the killing of at least four terrorists and seven security personnel.

Orange and blue coloured tarpaulin can be seen draping the interiors of the strategic facility, in an apparent indication of "visual prohibition" being put in place.

Investigators from India and Pakistan had met in Delhi yesterday. It is for the first time that that a Pakistani team has visited the country to probe a terror case.

The opposition parties have slammed the move with Congress saying that "unfettered access" given to Pakistan's JIT by according an almost "red carpet welcome" raised serious questions on procedural propriety in relation to compromise on national security and likened it to an accused investigating himself.

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