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26/11: The significance of NIA's visit to Pakistan

October 03, 2012 20:28 IST

The decision by the Indian government to send a team of the National Investigation Agency to Pakistan is an important one, says Vicky Nanjappa

The decision to send an NIA team to Pakistan will help fill up the blanks in the 26/11 investigation. However the amount of data they can gather would entirely depend on how much Pakistan allows us.

While a formal request would be made, NIA sources say that it is important for their investigation since there are many missing answers.

"But we need to see how much our ambit would be while we go to Pakistan. Even if we do not get path breaking answers, it would still strengthen our case in court as the probe would have covered all dimensions," says an NIA source.

Under the NIA's ambit comes the foreign link to the dreaded attack. The NIA's probe involves the David Headley, Abu Jundal and the Sajid Mir angles, which are three major features to the probe.

"While most of the answers regarding these persons have been provided by our own investigation and the probe by the United States, the key missing link has been concrete material from Pakistan," he adds.

The first part of the investigation on Pakistani soil by the NIA would be the examination of evidence in relation to the seized materials.

"There were many items which were seized from the gunmen who carried out the attack. We will verify this and the evidence collected by Pakistan tallied. They would also look to examine Pakistani ship Al-Hussaini, which ferried the attackers.

NIA sources tell that the more important aspect would be to verify the statements made by Jundal and Headley in connection with the attack.

"We would like to see what details Pakistan has collected regarding these persons and depending on what we would get, we would add it to the case and present it before the court," says the source.

While Headley and Jundal are no longer mysteries, Mir would be a prominent part of the team that conducts the probe in Pakistan.

"In this regard, we would need the interrogation reports of jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and also Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Moreover, we will also seek the testimonies of the witnesses before their court," said the sources.

India has also been looking to verify the role played by some army majors in the attack. Although it is very unlikely that Pakistan will assist with the voice samples, the NIA would still make a pitch for it.
However, experts point out that a lot regarding the ambit of the probe would depend on what Pakistan actually allows them to do. "How much has to be probed would only be decided by Pakistan and there is no question of the NIA overstepping jurisdiction on that front," the source said.

NIA sources say that it would be more of a legal process than a visit where they could find some path breaking answers.

"The material that we get will be added to the chargesheet prepared by us and would form part of the trial. However adding this material would not be a wasted exercise. Once the court delivers a verdict it would contain every aspect including Pakistan's version which would make it a foolproof case for us," the source adds.

Vicky Nanjappa