There was no ‘inside hand’ in the January 2 Pathankot terror attack on an Indian Air Force base. There is also no evidence to suggest that Pakistani authorities (read ISI) had any hand in the attack.
In an interview to Network 18
, Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Sharad Kumar said that while investigations are complete on the Indian side, there is a need to visit Pakistan for further probe.
An armored vehicle moves near Pathankot Indian Air Force. PTI
However, while India allowed Pakistani investigators to jointly probe the case in India, Islamabad did not extend the same courtesy to NIA prompting Home Minister Rajnath Singh to brand it “a betrayal”.
But Kumar said that India will file a chargesheet whether or not Pakistan allows an NIA team to probe those involved in the attack.
He said that there was “sufficient and stringent evidence” to suggest that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar
and his brother Rauf Azhar were behind the attack that left eight dead, including seven security personnel.
Indian army soldiers take up position on the perimeter of Pathankot Air Force base. NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)
On being asked whether there was any evidence against Pakistan, Kumar said there was none “so far”.
It should be noted here that the manner in which the seven terrorists infiltrated the base led many to speculate that there was an inside hand in the attack. Kumar, however, dismissed it saying that that there was nothing so far to point in that direction.
He refused to comment on whether there was any security lapse.
Kumar also refused to comment on Salvinder Singh, the SP who was kidnapped by the terrorists and later released. He said that the chargesheet will reveal whether Singh stands an accused or an innocent. Yet Kumar added that Singh’s version of the day of his kidnapping was true.
Security forces inside the Pathankot Air Force Base during the combing operation. Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Meanwhile, a report
released by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based NGO, has revealed that JeM has been able to draw more recruits following the Pathankot attack.
It also accuses the Pakistani government of “state sponsorship” of the “jihadists” and continuing to pursue a “highly selective approach” allowing anti-India terrorist groups to operate freely.
An anti-India demonstration in Pakistan. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed
The report slams the local Punjab government in Pakistan for not doing anything to end the “climate of impunity” in the region.