Just a few days after the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Pathankot terror attack admitted that the four terrorists who attacked the Pathankot Indian Air Force base were from Pakistan, the JIT has said that the Pathankot attack had been staged by India, according to a Pakistani media report.
The JIT "says the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan," according to a report in Pakistan Today. It further said that the JIT report, which will be submitted to Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the next few days, has even concluded that Indian authorities had prior information about the terrorists.
The report also quoted a member of the JIT as saying that the NIA officer's murder on Saturday night in Uttar Pradesh showed that "Indian establishment wants to keep the matter under wraps."
The same source also told Pakistan Today that the JIT concluded that the standoff between the Indian army and "alleged" terrorists ended within hours after the attack, which apparently made it clear that the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan.
"The Indian authorities made it a three-day drama to get maximum attention from the world community in order to malign Pakistan," Pakistan Today quoted the JIT report as saying.
The source also told Pakistan Today that no "major" damage was done to the base and that the perimeter lights at the airbase were not functional on the day of the attack, which apparently raises questions about whether India had prior information about the terrorists.
This is not the first time, though, that the Pakistani media and the JIT have made allegations of hiding evidence against India.
On 28 March, a report by Pakistani news channel Dunya News had said that Indian authorities showed "signs of reluctance" when the JIT asked them for information and evidence.
"Sketches of the attackers, footage of the closed-circuit television, duty registers of the Border Security Force (BSF), details of the bank accounts, service records, post-mortem report of the driver who died in the car accident at the time of the incident and the FIR of that car’s snatching have not been given to the Pakistani investigation team," a report in Pakistani newspaper Daily Times had said.
The report had further said that post-mortem and DNA reports of the terrorists involved and phone records and information about the commander of Pathankot airbase had not been given to the JIT.
The Dunya News report had further claimed that the stances of the Indian government and BSF regarding the terror attack were contradicting each other.
Moreover, the report had said that while Indian authorities had said that terrorists had entered the Pathankot airbase after climbing ten-feet walls, no ropes were found as evidence.
These claims by the Pakistani media had come just a day after it was found that Pakistan's electronic media regulatory body (PEMRA) on Sunday had released a statement for the Pakistani media, asking them to be "professional" and "responsible" when reporting on the Lahore attacks, unlike the Indian media.
What is truly surprising about the Pakistani JIT report's claim is that it comes just days after the same JIT admitted that the terrorists were from Pakistan. Reports had, in fact, also suggested that Pakistan had enough evidence to link them to extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Moreover, during the beginning of the investigation, Indian investigators had said that the visiting officials did not "contradict" any of the evidence submitted by the NIA.
"The fact that they did not contradict or made any adverse comment or observation is a positive sign," sources had told IANS.
The fact that the JIT is now saying that Indian authorities did not provide evidence and is claiming something as absurd as India staging the Pathankot attack shows exactly how dark relations between India and Pakistan truly are.
As this report in The Tribune had said, "Cricketers believe that if India and Pakistan were to play more games, it would help both countries to live in peace. They do not realise that at political and diplomatic levels too, both nations play games. This game is called one-upmanship, with surprise as an important element."
With inputs from agencies