LAHORE - Limited access to the crime scene, permission to interview only the selected witnesses and flimsy evidence is likely to seriously limit the utility of the Pakistani JIT tour to India for Pathankot attack probe, defence ministry sources told The Nation yesterday.

Sources in the department said these restrictions placed by Indian authorities in terms of witnesses and crime scene access have put in doubt a meaningful probe by the Pakistani experts, who would have to return home empty-handed.

Additionally, there were big question marks about the evidence presented to the JIT by the India’s top investigating agency heading the airbase raid probe, National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In these circumstances one can only hope of a miracle and not a logical and meaningful probe which could help the JIT to counter India’s allegations regarding their linking the terror attack with Pakistan, they added.

Analysing the evidence shared by NIA with the Pakistani team, they said, the Indian investigators claimed that they had extensive proof, including that of even the batch numbers of food packets carried by the Pathankot terrorists. They claimed the packets had Pakistani markings and manufacturing dates of November and December 2015 and were carefully buried by the terrorists.

Apparently and plausibly, such kind of ‘evidence’ is planted to establish linkages with Pakistan, which is a standard procedure of the intelligence agencies to launch “offensive propaganda” against a target state.

Another part of the ‘evidence’ included energy drink “Red bull”, identical wire cutters and arms and ammunition of Eastern Europe, Russian and Chinese make which are available freely in the Pak-Afghan region.

Anybody can buy all these items from Afghanistan as the restive country is full of Indians and with its intelligence agents in its Consulates across the country. It is no evidence, they added.

The Indian investigators also shared information about two websites, which were used by the Pathankot airbase raiders for communication. Both the websites have gone off the Internet and India wants Pakistan to probe the details.

“What a joke, any individual can get a website for few thousand rupees and can remove it through the IT company which provided the services. The Indian investigators should know this too is no evidence or weak evidence. How can a website establish Pakistan’s soil linkages with the raid?” the defence ministry sources remarked.

Pathankot JIT needs access to the entire crime scene starting from the airbase to the border point from where the attackers allegedly crossed it and not the selected areas by the Indian security agencies, they said.

The Indian government has made it clear that the Pakistani team will have “restricted” access to the air base with the NIA taking them to selected areas.

Orange and blue coloured tarpaulin can be seen draping the interiors of the airbase, in an apparent indication of “visual prohibition” being put in place.

The JIT has sought permission to interrogate the Pathankot base-commander of the IAF, National Security Guard personnel who took part in operation at the airbase, BSF officials, doctors who conducted the postmortem, call records of Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma, whose phones had been snatched by the terrorists and allegedly used by the terrorists to speak to their contacts in Pakistan.

But the NIA so far has decided to allow the JIT to only interview the doctors who conducted the postmortem, SP Salwinder and his jeweller friend Rajesh, said the defence ministry sources.

Earlier, the NIA had handed over to JIT the statements of witnesses including doctors who conducted the postmortem, call records of the SP and his friend, serial number of weapons seized, besides forensic and ballistic reports.

Two former senior officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Brigadier (r) Syed Ghanzanfar and Brigadier (r) Aslam Ghumman sharing their experiences said, “Pathankot was an Indian intelligence planned and “staged operation” to achieve certain goals in the region. The JIT was running after the shadows and will eventually fail to reach any conclusive ending.”

“If we hypothetically admit the Indian allegations we need an extensive independent reach for the JIT to the entire crime scene with access to all the witnesses starting from uniformed personnel whether in military, law enforcing agencies or others, and accurate and real evidence,” they added.