Pathankot probe: Pakistan’s JIT claims legal backing

Pathankot probe: Pakistan’s JIT claims legal backing

New Delhi: The Pakistani team probing the Pathankot terror strike has conveyed to the NIA that it has the mandate to collect evidence in the case under that country’s law and as such there will be no judicial request for it.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has, however, made no formal request to the anti-terror probe agency so far for sharing the evidence in the assault.
During interaction with NIA officials, the Pakistani team was asked whether any Letters Rogatory would be sent by Islamabad for collection of evidence against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militants who carried out the suicide attack on strategic air base in Pathankot. Letters Rogatory is a judicial request under which a court of a sovereign nation asks the court of another sovereign nation for sharing evidence so that it is admissible.
However, the Pakistani JIT, headed by Punjab’s Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai, and also including ISI’s Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, said it had the mandate under section 188 of Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan to collect the evidence.
NIA has so far only shown the evidence to the five-member Pakistani team and they are yet to make a formal request for sharing it, official sources said.
According to Pakistani law cited by the JIT, when a citizen of Pakistan commits an offence at any place without and beyond the limits of that country, he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it had been committed at any place within Pakistan.
“…such offence shall be enquired into in Pakistan unless the Political Agent, if there is one, for the territory in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, certifies that, in his opinion, the charge, ought to be enquired into in Pakistan; and, where there is no Political Agent, the sanction of Federal Government shall be required,” the Pakistani law says.
Pakistan is also yet to make a request for questioning witnesses in the case. “The witnesses will be made available only upon a request,” Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar said.
India plans to provide the Pakistani team access to all witnesses in the case barring the security personnel from NSG or BSF who participated in the gun battle with the perpetrators of the Pathankot attack. The witnesses include Punjab Police Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma, cook Madan Gopal and 17 injured persons.
The sources said cooperation with the Pakistani team would be based on the principle of reciprocity hoping that an Indian team would be allowed to travel to Pakistan at a later date.
In the 26/11 Mumbai attack case, Pakistan had sent a judicial commission to cross-examine some of the witnesses in the case.