Why India Spoils the Investigation of Pathankot Incident?
Without any investigation and evidence, since the first day of the a terror attack at the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot, Indian media and top civil and military officials started claiming that the attackers had arrived from Pakistani Punjab’s Bahawalpur district, and had links with Jaish-e-Mohammad and Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). But, despite Islamabad’s cooperation with India like formation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) consisting of professionals to investigate the Pathankot attack, crackdown against the militant group Jaish-i-Mohammad—lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) in relation to the incident, New Delhi failed in providing any proof of Pakistan’s involvement in the Pathankot episode. In fact, besides fulfilling other sinister designs against Pakistan, New Delhi orchestrated that drama to postpone secretary-level talks with Pakistan, which were scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15, 2016.
Some latest developments have proved that the terror attack at the Pathankot Air Force Base
A Muslim Officer of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) Mohammad Tanzil who was investigating the Pathankot airbase attack was shot dead by two unidentified attackers near his hometown-Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, when he was returning from a function with his wife and a child, as India media reported on April 3, this year.
Meanwhile, New Delhi’s non-cooperation with Pakistan’s JIT has proved that Indian intelligence agencies, especially RAW has arranged the killing of Mohammad Tanzil who wanted to detect the real culprits of the Pathankot attack. Now, as a formality, Indian government has directed to conduct a high level inquiry to know regarding his death by unknown attackers.
It is notable that Indian authorities failed to provide evidence to Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team which visited India to probe into Pathankot attack. The JIT members visited Pathankot Airbase on March 29 where Indian National Investigation Agency officials briefed and showed them the route from where the attackers stormed the airbase.
Sources said that the lights along the 24-km perimeter wall of the Pathankot airbase found to be faulty on the eve of the attack. The Pakistani investigators were allowed to enter the military airbase from the narrow adjacent routes instead of main entrance and their duration of the visit was just 55 minutes, enough to take a mere walk through the airbase. The JIT could not collect evidence in this limited time.
The sources also pointed out that the visiting team was only informed about the negligence of Boarder Security Force (BSF) and Indian forces. It was disclosed that at the time of the assault, the BSF was sleeping, even though they had been alerted of a possible attack 48 hours earlier.
As a matter of fact, Ajit Doval, the ex-spymaster who is now National Security Advisor of Indian Prime Minister Modi is the real author and controller of India’s offensive-defensive doctrine.
Besides planning various terror attacks in Pakistan as part of Indian offensive-defensive doctrine, Ajit Doval also advised to arrange various subversive acts inside India and to shift the blame game to Pakistan like orchestrated drama of Gurdaspur episode, boat incident etc. to defame Pakistan and its security agencies.
In this context, on January 2, 2016, the terror attack at Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot was preplanned under his directions.
Undoubtedly, Pakistan as a responsible member of the international community condemned the Pathankot attack and offered honest and sincere help to investigate the issue, though New Delhi itself planned the incident. In this respect, on January 8, 2016, a high level meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was held in which chief of army staff and DG, ISI also participated. The meeting also discussed the Pathankot incident and expressed Pakistan’s condemnation. Reiterating commitment to cooperate with India to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism in the region, it was decided to remain in touch with the Indian government—expressed the goodwill generated by the recent high level contacts, the two countries would remain committed to a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue process.
Pakistan’s stance has been appreciated and international community also asked both the countries to solve the issue through diplomacy.
Security policy of Pakistan supported by all stake holders including Government and Security institutions aims at eradicating terrorists from its soil .Pakistan is sincere in investigating the Pathankot attack. Islamabad is serious in addressing genuine concerns of New Delhi and international community. This was the first ever effort by India to genuinely engage Pakistan.
Pakistan’s seriousness and non-involvement is reflective from Pakistan’s willing support for a fair investigation.
Now, the ball is Indian court to open the doors for genuine investigation and share all proves to Islamabad—sufficient enough for a tangible legal action.
Notably, India’s orchestrated drama of the Pathankot incident could also be judged from the fact that earlier, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said in confusion that New Delhi would not allow access to the JIT into the base, though it was allowed on very limited scale to fulfill the formality. It can undermine the seriousness of bilateral commitments to find the truth.
Team had to be allowed serious access to the Indian investigations as to ascertain the reality. In this connection, varying claims came from New Delhi with regards to the strength of the killed terrorists. And Pictures/photographs of only four terrorists have been shared with the media so far. Hence, it is to find about remaining two.
It is of particular attention that Indian Intelligence agencies had already alerted security agencies about the possible terror group’s planning of the assault at Pathonkot, after tracing the phone calls of the militants. Following the alert, Western Air Command chief Air Marshal SB Deo had reached Pathankot air base on the same day of night himself to take stock of security preparations. One day before, the terrorists had also hijacked the car of Indian Superintend of Police (SP), Gurdaspur,Salwinder Singh, which was used by them to reach the base. SP, his friend Rajesh Verma, and cook Madan Gopal were abducted and afterwards released. Reports revealed that Indian NIA which has been entrusted with the attack probe, is questioning the SP, his friend and cook, deliberately linking him with Pakistan’s banned outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad and spy agency, ISI.
Nonetheless, Pathankot incident cannot be seen in isolation, as it is part of Indian activities against Pakistan. In this context, it is also of particular attention that on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of Indian intelligence agency RAW in Balochistan province. During investigation, RAW agent namely Kulbushan Yadav confessed that during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
While addressing a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheed, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said on March 29, 2016, “Kulbushan Yadav’s arrest is a rare case that does not happen very often.” He disclosed that Yadav was an active officer of the Indian Navy prior to his joining RAW. He also served as a scrap dealer and had a jewelry business in Chahbahar, Iran, after he joined RAW in 2013.
A video was also shown during the press conference in which Yadav confessed that he spied for India. Yadav admitted that he was assigned with the task to create unrest in Karachi and Balolchitan by stating, “I supported the individuals who worked to destabilise Pakistan…I promoted the criminal mindset that was there in Balochistan.” Another task assigned to him was to target the Gwadar Port. Yadav also confessed funding Baloch separatists along with other terrorists. He stated that he was arrested by Pakistani authorities while he was heading Iran.
On March 25, in a statement, India’s External Affairs Ministry, while admitting the RAW agent, captured by the Pakistani security forces to be Indian citizen, claimed that he was a commander in the Indian Navy, and it has sought consular access to Yadav.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office, spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said, “Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale and lodged a strong protest over RAW officer’s arrest…India’s spying activities in Balochistan and Karachi…the spy was linked to separatist elements in Balochistan, as well as involved in acts of sectarian terrorism and terror attacks in Karachi…and Balochistan.”
But, the arrest of RAW agent was made at a crucial hour, when Pakistani JIT was scheduled to visit India to investigate Pathankot terror attack.
Returning to our main discussion, India is spoiling the investigation of the Pathonkot incident, because it has itself arranged the attack, as part of the anti-Pakistan scheme.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations