April 5:In a move that could see India-Pakistan relations plummeting, a team of investigators from Islamabad who visited the Pathankot air force base is expected, according to report, to declare that the terror attack at the base was “a drama” staged by India “to malign Pakistan”.
Five senior officers from Pakistan, including one from its uber-powerful military intel agency, the ISI, visited India last week and were allowed to tour the Pathankot base where seven military personnel died after a group of Pakistani terrorists breached the 1,200-acre complex at the start of the year.
Pakistan Today quotes a report prepared by the Pakistani Joint Investigating Team or JIT as saying “the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan and persuade the world community that Pakistan is involved in terrorism.” The report also allegedly states that “Indian authorities also failed to establish that the attackers entered from Pakistan.”
Indian government sources responded firmly, stating, “This is the ISI, Pakistan army indulging in usual psychological ops and double-speak.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was attacked by the opposition for permitting the Pakistanis onto the Pathankot base, though defence ministry officials stressed that all sensitive areas had been cordoned off. India’s fighter jets and helicopters are among the high-value assets at the base.
The team was sent by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as part of his stated commitment to working with India to identify and punish the guilty. India has blamed the attack on Masood Azhar, the chief of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is based in Pakistan.
Sources said the Pakistani team was non-committal about whether the evidence presented by India proves the role of the Jaish.
Government sources said that India “will go by what is officially conveyed by Pakistan and action on the ground.”