Why is an ISI member part of Pak JIT team, asks Congress

Pathankot-Pak-Team-arrive Members of a Pakistani investigation team walk to vehicles after their arrival at Indra Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi | AFP

The Congress Party on Monday questioned the inclusion of an ISI officer in the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that is visiting India to probe the January 2016 terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force Base.

“Pakistan has not provided a letter rogatory for the visit of the JIT team, without it there is no guarantee of prosecution. One is forced to wonder what the investigation all about is. Why is an officer of the infamous ISI of Pakistan a part of the JIT? The role of the dreaded terrorist organisation –Jaish-e-Mohammad, its chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf, who was one of the handlers of Pathankot terror attack is well-known and widely accepted. Despite this, Pakistan Government till today has taken no action either against Jaish-e-Mohammad in terms of banning it or in terms of arresting Maulana Masood Azhar or his brother or the other handler Kashif Jaan,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told the media here.

“Unfettered access being provided to them (Pakistan JIT) and also red carpet welcome accorded by the Indian government. It raises serious question with regard to judicial propriety and genuine apprehensions vis-à-vis compromising on national security. Serious questions are also being raised about Modi government’s U-turn in terms of segregation of state and non-state actors in Pakistan, who are indulging in rampant and senseless export of terror into India on an everyday basis, causing serious and irreparable loss of civilian and military lives,” he added.

Surjewala further stated that the BJP Government must need to evaluate and reflect upon and answer some of the genuine apprehensions in mind of national security experts, as also, people of the country.

“Prima facie it appears to be a case of an accused investigating himself. Secondly, by allowing a Pakistani investigation team to visit and investigate. BJP Government has for the first time distinguished and therefore recognized that Pakistani establishment does not have a role in perpetuating terror in India, more so in context to Pathankot terror attack,” he said.

Currently, the meeting between the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials and a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan is currently underway at the NIA headquarter.

The team would visit Pathankot on March 29.

According to sources, the JIT comprises of Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) AIG Rai Tahir as convener, Intelligence Bureau Lahore Deputy Director General Azim Arshad, Lt. Col Tanvir Ahmed of the ISI, Lt, Col Irfan Mirza of MI and Gujranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.

On January 2, terrorists attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.

Four terrorists were killed and two security personnel were martyred in the gun battle.

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