India has rubbished reports citing members of Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that the Pathankot attack was a drama staged by New Delhi to malign Islamabad.
Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said no one, including the people of Pakistan, will believe that the Pathankot airbase attack was a drama staged by India.
“I hope they (Pakistan) won’t take such a stand. No one will believe it, including the Pakistani people,” Naidu said during a media interaction in New Delhi.
“They are under pressure of extremist groups. People want dialogue, but a dialogue cannot go along with terror,” he added.
The minister however said the newspaper report had quoted unnamed sources in the JIT and was not an official position of Pakistan.
Lahore based news daily Pakistan Today, quoting an unnamed member of the JIT had reported that the team had concluded that India had used the attack as a tool to expand its “vicious propaganda” against Pakistan “without having any solid evidence to back the claim”. It also said Indian authorities had prior knowledge of the attackers and the attack.
“The report in Pakistan Today is a total concoction. While in India, the JIT took on board the detailed evidence which was shared by the NIA,” a source from India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
“Since the JIT collected evidence in accordance with Pakistani law which applies to Pakistani citizens committing an offence abroad, the involvement of Pakistanis in the Pathankot attack is self evident,” the source added.
“We had provided all kinds of information sought by the five-member Pakistani team. The report being run on news channels is quoting sources. We have not had any talk with Pakistani officials on this so far,” said National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson Sanjeev Singh.
Pakistan Today’s news report also quoted a member of the JIT as saying that NIA officer Tanzil Ahmad’s murder on Saturday in Uttar Pradesh proved that the “Indian establishment wants to keep the matter under wraps”.
The JIT which arrived in India on March 28 visited Pathankot the next day. It concluded its investigations and returned to Pakistan on April 1.
Heavily armed gunmen had on January 2 attacked the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab. Four attackers and three security personnel were killed in the 17 hour gun battle. India blamed Pakistan based terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attack.