India to insist written commitment from Pak on NIA team visit

India may insist on a written commitment for the visit of a NIA team to Pakistan to probe the terror attack in Pathankot airbase following indications that it may not be averse to such a visit.

Official sources said the Home Ministry will ask the External Affairs Ministry to seek a written commitment from Pakistan on the National Investigation Agency team’s visit whenever the next bilateral engagement takes place.

Investigators have found that Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf and two other individuals – Kasif Jaan and Shahid Latif – were the main conspirators of the January 2 attack on the strategic airbase and India will insist access to all of them whenever NIA will visit Pakistan.

Sources said so far there have been no indication of any “insider hand” in the Pathankot incident and it was planned and executed by Pakistan-based JeM only, sources said.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz yesterday indicated that his country may consider such a request.

On whether NIA team will be allowed to visit Pakistan in connection with Pathankot attack probe, Aziz said, “Once the stage is reached…India makes a request and then we will see”.

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju yesterday said the government was hopeful that a team of NIA will soon visit Pakistan to gather evidence in connection with the Pathankot terror attack.

“We are hopeful that a team of NIA will visit Pakistan soon,” he said.

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had indicated last fortnight that Indian investigators may not be allowed to visit Pakistan to pursue the probe in connection with the Pathankot attack.

However, India countered it by saying that before the visit of a Pakistani Joint Investigation Team here last month, both sides had agreed that it would be on the basis of reciprocity.