Pakistan probe team at Pathankot air base; Protest by Congress, AAP

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2016,9:46 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Pathankot | A five-member Pakistani probe team, including an ISI official, today visited the IAF base here, entering through the same breached perimeter wall used by terrorists in the January 2 attack, even as Congress and AAP intensified protests against the visit.

The Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) team accompanied by NIA officials entered the strategic airbase from its rear side after their convoy stopped at ‘Upper Doaba’ canal here and the members took a mini bus to travel through the dirt track next to the water body.

The team, officials said, was taken to only the scene of crime where the encounter occurred between the security men and terrorists and the entire process was videographed by two IAF personnel. It is for the first time that that a Pakistani team has visited the country to probe a terror case and has been given access to a strategic installation.

The Pakistani JIT is led by Punjab’s Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai and also includes ISI’s Lt Col rank officer Tanvir Ahmed. The area was visually barricaded so that the defence assets were not exposed, officials said.

Commandos of the special SWAT team ran for half a kilometre with the bus, till the JIT and NIA sleuths entered from a newly created entry on the airbase’s perimeter wall laden with huge concertina wires at about 11:20 AM. This the same fence from where at least four terrorists breached the airbase security apparatus and entered on the morning of January 1 this year before launching the attack later that night.

They killed seven security men before being shot dead after an 80-hour gun battle. Waving black flags and placards, scores of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers today stood outside the air base protesting against the visit and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans. They accused the BJP government of hurting the sentiments of the people of the country by allowing the Pakistan team to probe terror attack on Indian soil.

AAP’s Delhi Minister Kapil Mishra said allowing Pakistani JIT to visit the air base was shameful and disgusting. For the first time in 35 years, we are saying that ISI was not supporting terrorism. The same people who have killed our people have come here…this is so shameful and disgusting, Mishra said. This is an insult of our mother India. We will not let Modi government to do this, he said.

Modi has shown his real face. We do not want killers to be allowed to probe the matter. We will not tolerate this and that is why AAP is holding protest here, said AAP leader Singh, who is party incharge for Punjab affairs.It is an insult to Indians and martyrs, he said.