The Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which was at the NIA headquarters on Thursday to examine witnesses connected to the Pathankot attack probe, has agreed that the four terrorists who attacked the Air Force base on January 2 were from Pakistan.
“They are not denying that the terrorists were from Pakistan. We have shared their identities and addresses and they have said they will probe further. There is a convergence between the investigation launched by the two countries into the attack. The set of accused for Pak JIT and NIA are more or less the same. We have seen their FIR,” said a senior NIA official.
The Pak JIT examined 13 witnesses connected to the investigation. These included Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and Singh’s cook Madan Gopal, apart from various police officers and doctors. Singh, Verma and Gopal had been abducted by the terrorists who hijacked their car to travel to the airbase.
Four police officers from Punjab, who were involved in filing the FIR and the preliminary probe, sarpanch of Bamial village and doctors who conducted post-mortem of the slain terrorists were also examined.
“The JIT’s questions were largely based on the witnesses’ statements recorded by us. They had some questions of their own, but nothing that we hadn’t already covered,” said an NIA official.
Sources said the agency has already handed over all relevant evidence to the JIT and the visit will be wrapped up by Friday afternoon.
“Friday will largely be spent on deciding the next course of action. We have already handed over our list of demands. Tomorrow we will decide the mechanism of coordination between the two agencies for further cooperation on the probe,” said the officer.
The Pakistani JIT had asked NIA to hand over swabs of four terrorists identified as Nasir Hussain (Punjab province), Abu Bakar, (Gujranwala), Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum (both from Sindh). However, the NIA handed over to the visitors the DNA reports of the terrorists and asked them to match those with their family members.
The NIA has already handed over a list of 300 questions and sought voice samples of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf and Nasir’s mother Khayyam Baber. Nasir reportedly spoke to his mother during the attack.
The NIA sought access to Azhar and Rauf and told the JIT that till India’s request was pending with Islamabad authorities, it would like the JIT to question them about their role in the attack and subsequently hand over their statement to the Indian agency.
Sources said JIT informed the NIA that one of the Jaish handlers Kashif Jaan, who is believed to have accompanied the terrorists up to the border, was missing ever since his name surfaced and assured that Pakistani police was looking for him.
NIA also identified another Jaish terrorist Shahid Latif as one of the handlers of the terrorists and sought his thorough interrogation, an official said, adding that details about ‘Al Rehmat Trust’ run by JeM were also sought.
Details of two websites, which carried a message of Abdul Rauf after the terror strike, were also shared with them and they were asked to provide details for the same, he said. Both the websites have gone off the Internet.