The External Affairs Ministry Friday said involvement of Pakistani nationals in Pathankot attack was an accepted fact and added that speculation should be avoided as probe was on. The statement comes after NIA chief Sharad Kumar’s purported remark, that no evidence of the involvement of the Pakistan government or its agencies had been found during the probe, prompted Pakistan to claim that its long-standing position had been vindicated.
While MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup issued a statement clarifying India’s position and reiterated that Kumar’s words had been misinterpreted, Congress attacked the NDA government, asking whether it believes that the Pakistani establishment no longer sponsors terrorism.
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Asked about Kumar’s remark, Minister of State, Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju told reporters, “There is no question of a clean chit. I cannot say anything conclusive at this stage as investigation is on.”
On Thursday, Pakistan cited Kumar’s remark in an interview to News18.com that India was yet to find evidence to establish complicity of Pakistan government and its official agencies in Pathankot attack. Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said on Twitter: “The statement of DG NIA… vindicated Pakistan’s longstanding position…”
Soon after, NIA released a statement, saying Kumar had been “misquoted”. Kumar told The Indian Express, “I was asked about evidence against Pakistan government and agencies and I said that so far we have given evidence of Jaish and Masood Azhar’s involvement and the investigation is still on. I was misquoted.”
On Friday, Swarup said: “The involvement of Pakistan’s nationals in the Pathankot airbase attack is an accepted fact. I would remind you that investigations are ongoing… we await further response and information from Pakistan. It would be injudicious to speculate in this situation,” he said.