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Probe team was allowed to work as per ToR agreed with Pakistan: India

PTI 07 Apr 2016, 22:01:38 IST

New Delhi: Disapproving Pakistan's assertion that its JIT was not allowed to meet witnesses from the security forces, India today said the work of the Pakistan probe team was as per the Terms of Reference (ToR), agreed by their respective governments.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the JIT visit was on reciprocal basis and in accordance with the existing legal provisions.

He also emphasised that it was for the first time Government of India has received cooperation from Pakistan in form of a JIT visit in investigating a terror attack in India.

Asked about Pakistan Foreign Office statement yesterday that its JIT was not allowed to meet witnesses from the security forces, he said,"The work of JIT in India was as per the ToR which were agreed between the two governments through their respective foreign offices. They are on reciprocal basis and in accordance with the existing legal provisions."

He also dismissed a Pakistan media report which quoted an unnamed JIT member as having said that Pathankot terror strike was "stage-managed" by India, saying government does not respond to any speculative media reports and it will go by what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan officially communicates to it.

On the status of arrested former Indian Navy officer by Pakistan, he said India has sought consular access and same was awaited.

As per the Terms of Reference, the Government of India was to make arrangements to ensure a smooth and successful JIT visit.

Under it, India was to take all necessary steps to ensure security of JIT members and material in their possession and provide access to key witnesses relevant to the investigation and their timely availability.

The India side was also to make available all evidence in its possession to enable building of a strong prosecution case in Pakistan.

India was to also facilitate the JIT's visit to the scene of crime and other relevant places and provide appropriate working environment to enable it to carry out its work.

The Pakistan government constituted the JIT on February 25, 2016 under Section 19(I) of its Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 to conduct investigation into the January 2 attack on the Pathankot airbase.

This came after an FIR was registered (No. 06/16) on February 18, 2016 at the police station counter terrorism department, Gujranwala under Section 302, 324, 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and section 7, 21-1 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The FIR contains information provided by India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Nasir Khan Janjua.

Aitzaz-ud-Din, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan, is the complainant of the case.