Mumbai/New Delhi: Key BJP ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday joined Congress and AAP in attacking the government over a Pakistani team being allowed to visit an IAF base in Pathankot to probe the terror strike, calling it "wrong".
Mounting a fresh offensive over the visit today, Congress said the Modi government has set a "wrong precedent" and wondered why 'biryani' was being served to the JIT which also includes an ISI representative.
As a political storm over the visit of a five-member Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) raged, the BJP fended off opposition criticism, saying the trip strengthens government's stand that Pakistani territory was used to carry out the strike. It also accused Congress of criticising the visit due to "political malice".
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut while terming the government's decision as "wrong" said rather an Indian team needs to be sent to Pakistan to probe those behind the terror strikes.
Raut also reminded the Centre that not India, but Pakistan is an accused in the Pathankot strike. "On top of that, we have provided high security to the Pakistani team. Who are they scared of? The entire matter is laughable," the Sena MP told PTI in Mumbai.
He sought to know if the Centre will manage to get permission from Pakistan to get an Indian team to investigate in the neighbouring country.
"Our team needs to be sent there to investigate the role of Hafiz Saeed and Azhar Masood in terror strikes in our country. But will we get permission? We need to remember we are not culprits but Pakistan is," he said.
Congress accused the government of compromising the country's sovereignty and setting a "wrong" precedent.
"It is known all over that the Pakistan's ISI is behind the terror attacks in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes, and still we are serving biryani to the JIT which also includes an ISI representative," party spokesman P L Punia told reporters in Delhi.
Replying to a question, he said the Narendra Modi dispensation has set a "wrong" precedent by allowing the JIT to visit India.
BJP said the government has "adequate evidence" that Pakistani territory was used and terrorists based there were involved in the attack.
"They (Pakistan) said they want to send an investigation team. It only strengthens our case and does not weaken it," party National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said only time will tell whether the visit will benefit India or not. He, however, said "the way Pakistani team came for probing the Pathankot attack and was allowed, Indian team should be allowed to (investigate) Mumbai and other such attacks (in Pakistan)".
Striking a tone different from other opposition parties, Omar's father and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah backed the government over the visit, saying it was a "very good step" and that it was time for the two neighbouring countries to give up animosity and push friendship.
Waving black flags and placards, scores of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers stood outside the IAF base protesting against the visit and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans.