Pak probe team hits Pathankot; Congress protests

The Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) accompanied by Indian officials reached Pathankot this morning in connection with the probe into the 7 January terror attack at IAF base.

The five-member Pakistani team led by Punjab's Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai landed at Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport in Amritsar and left for Pathankot by road amid tight security.

The JIT and India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) will take stock of the probe into the Pathankot terror attack today, officials said.

Punjab Police was escorting the convoy of the Pakistani team which also has ISI's Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, Lahore's Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau Mohammad Azim Arshad, Military Intelligence Lt Col Irfan Mirza and Gujaranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.

Police officials said they have diligently barricaded areas around the Indian Air Force facility .

''The district police has been informed about the visit and deployments have been done accordingly,'' a senior police official said.

A large police contingent has been deployed in and around Dhangu village where the IAF base is located.

Congress protest
Congress workers staged a protest near the air base against the visit by the Pakistani investigators. Activists of Punjab's main opposition Congress party held the protest near a road which is to be taken by the Pakistani probe team. They carried black flags and banners.

The banners named officials of the Pakistani team, especially those from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence.

Government has made it clear that the Pakistani team will have ''restricted'' access to the air base with the NIA taking them to a select areas where the over 80-hour gun battle led to the killing of at least four terrorists and seven security personnel.

Orange and blue coloured tarpaulin could be seen draping the interiors of the strategic facility, in an apparent indication of ''visual prohibition'' being put in place.

Investigators from India and Pakistan had met in Delhi on Monday. It is for the first time that that a Pakistani team has visited the country to probe a terror case.

The Opposition parties have slammed the move, with Congress saying that ''unfettered access'' given to Pakistan's JIT by according an almost ''red carpet welcome'' raised serious questions on procedural propriety in relation to compromise on national security and likened it to an accused investigating himself.