Red herring? Pakistan wants details of Pulwama bomber’s guns


NEW DELHI: In what is being read by India as lack of any serious intent in probing the Pakistan link to the Pulwama attack, Islamabad has set out a list of, as sources here put it, trivial demands that include seeking the gun type, manufacturer and “identification numbers” of the weapon brandished by suicide bomber Adil Dar in his confession video.

Pakistan has also sought a copy of the FIR registered by India in the February 14 Pulwama bombing which killed 40 CRPF troopers and asked for statements of witnesses in its reply to India’s February 27 dossier.

Indian authorities see these demands, especially the one for details of Dar’s guns, as delaying tactics, if not a red herring. The weapons in question were not used for the attack and their identification, or lack of it, is unlikely to have any bearing on the Pulwama investigations.

Dar was seen armed with several weapons in the pre-suicide video in which he admitted he was a member of Jaish-e-Muhammed and that he had been tasked with carrying out the attack. The attack was swiftly owned and evidence given to Pakistan included coordinates of a WhatsApp number used by a JeM member to claim responsibility.

The government sees Pakistan’s response to several important issues raised in India’s dossier as disappointing. “There were specific and actionable inputs about JeM’s involvement but it doesn’t seem Pakistan has acted on those in a serious and focused manner,” said a source on condition of anonymity.

Apart from inputs on JeM complicity in the attack, India had also provided information about its terror camps and its leaders. In its response, which TOI has accessed, Pakistan has accused India of not sharing initial investigation details like the FIR and witness statements.

While accusing Pakistan of following the 26/11 and Pathankotattack script even in Pulwama investigations, India said last week it was examining the “paper” handed over by Pakistan.

Pakistan has sought details about how and where the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device used for the attack was prepared and also the source and quantity of the explosives.

However, while India called for action in the dossier against 90 individuals closely linked with JeM, Islamabad has demanded information on how each of these individuals was linked to the Pulwama attack. India reads this as another sign of Pakistan’s reluctance to take serious and credible action against JeM terrorists on its soil.

That JeM owning up responsibility for the attack is seen as very significant and the government had asked Pakistan to help identify one Mohammed Hassan who was said to have made the claim of Jaish’s role in WhatsApp messages. Pakistan though has asked for more information about his identity even though it is unlikely that India would have withheld such information which needs to be pursued in Pakistani territory.

Pakistan has demanded call detail records of Hassan’s number besides information about the identity of the subscriber of the number contacted by the person. India had also mentioned WhatsApp and Telegram groups in which views had been shared by suspects on the terror attack. Pakistan in its response has sought GSM numbers used by the administrators of the group. Pakistan also wants to know the IP address which was used to upload Dar’s video and details of those held by India for the attack.

India had said last week in an official response that Pakistan regrettably continues to be in denial and even refused to acknowledge Pulwama as a terror attack. “It has not shared details of credible action, if any, taken by it against terrorists or terrorist organisations based in territories under its control,” it had said.


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