Islamabad may allow the National Investigation Team (NIA) handling the Pathankot attack case to visit Pakistan for further probe, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz reportedly said on Monday.
During Pakistan's Joint Investigation Team's (JIT) visit to New Delhi last month, NIA had proposed that its team would like to visit Pakistan to investigate the attack allegedly carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). JIT had then welcomed the plan, but Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had, earlier in April, said that Islamabad was still uncertain.
"Once the stage is reached...India makes a request and then we will see," Aziz told CNN News18 in an interview while commenting on the possibility of NIA's visit to Pakistan, according to the Press Trust of India.
"I think once the investigation is complete, on the basis of what additional information is required, a decision (to allow Indian investigators to visit) is made," the Express Tribune quoted Aziz as saying.
Clarifying on Basit's statement that India-Pakistan talks stand suspended as of now, Aziz added the Pakistan envoy said "suspended" did not mean "cancelled or given up." He was also asked to comment on Basit's remark, "this whole investigation is not about reciprocity."
"I don't think he used that word. He said that right now cooperation is more important than that of reciprocity and does not exclude option and he said that let's cooperate and then thing will work out. So, I don't think one should over interpret statement, he (Basit) just said that cooperation is more important which is true," Aziz responded.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had on Monday expressed hope that NIA will be allowed to visit Pakistan. "We are hopeful that a team of NIA will visit Pakistan soon," PTI quoted him as saying.
Pakistan's JIT during its probe in India had reportedly said there was no evidence against JeM chief Masood Azhar, who is suspected to be the mastermind behind the Jan. 2 attack on Pathankot Air Force base. Days after JIT concluded its trip to India, Pakistan media, quoting JIT sources, reported that India had "staged" the Pathankot attack to "malign Pakistan."