New envoy goes to Pakistan with friendship message

Amid uncertainty over Foreign Secretarylevel talks, newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale, who was on Tuesday crossing over to the Wagah border to assume charge, said he was taking a message of peace to the neighbouring country.
New envoy goes to Pakistan with friendship message
Gautam Bambawale

New Delhi

“Going to Pak with the message of friendship, want to improve relations,’’ Mr Bambawale said here before his departure. Mr Bambawale is taking up his new assignment in Islamabad at a very difficult juncture when the newly resumed process of normalisation had received a setback with the Pathankot terror attack whose culprits are believed to have come from Pakistan. 
Meanwhile, NIA team probing the Pathankot attack also visited Kathua and Samba districts of Jammu region, where army and police facilities faced terror strikes last year, only to find similarities in the modus operandi of the terrorists. 
NIA sources said a team of the agency visited army camp in Samba on the Jammu-Pathankot highway where two terrorists opened fire on March 21.  The team also visited Kathua where Rajbagh police station was attacked by a group of terrorists on March 20 last year. They said the agency could spot glaring similarities in the modus operandi of the terrorists, who staged attack on Kathua, Samba and those attacking Pathankot IAF base on January 1 this year. 
The terror probe agency summoned the caretaker of a shrine in Punjab which an SP rank officer had claimed to have visited before being kidnapped by terrorists who attacked the Pathankot Air Force base hours later. The NIA summoned Somraj, the caretaker of Panj Peer Dargah located a few kilometres from Bamiyal, the village from where the terrorists were suspected to have infiltrated India before mounting the attack. 
Somraj’s statement that Salwinder Singh had come to the shrine for the first time before the attack and that his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and his cook Madan Gopal had visited the dargah twice the same day had raised eyebrows as the police officer has claimed he was a regular visitor. 
The terror probe agency has sent his mobile phone to Central Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its ownership and calls made from it possibly by the terrorists involved in  the 80hour gun battle.  In Ferozepur, security forces in this border town were on their toes for hours and the entire Cantonment area was cordoned off after two telephone linesmen, who were climbing a wall to repair phone lines, were mistaken for terrorists.

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