Getting serious? Pakistan forms new team to probe Pathankot terror attack

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Amid mounting pressure from India and accusations of being non-serious about carrying out necessary investigations, Pakistan has set up a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe Pathankot terror attack. The development comes nearly a week after an FIR was filed on the incident by Pakistan. Talks between India and Pakistan have also hit a roadblock in the backdrop of the terror attacks and the fate of dialogue continues to remain uncertain.

The JIT could visit the air base, subject to permission from the Indian government, in March to gather evidence to conduct its own investigation. Forming a high level team to look into the case, the Pakistan government has announced a probe team comprising Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Tahir Rai (convener), Lahore Deputy Director General (DDG) Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Lt. Col Tanvir Ahmed of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Col Irfan Mirza (Military Intelligence) and Gujjaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.

Pakistan had earlier set up a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to carry out an initial probe into the case based on the leads given by India. According to an unnamed police official, the SIT would become dysfunctional once government formally transferred its powers to the JIT.

An FIR was filed on February 18, in connection with the Pathankot terror attack without naming JeM chief Masood Azhar, who is said to be the masterminded behind the terror strikes. The FIR was lodged by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police after the information provided by India along with leads showed that four attackers probably crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase on January 2.

The Pathankot attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting of Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. As of now no date has been fixed to resume talks.

 

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