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Thread: Pakistan Arrests 15 Over Mumbai Attacks

  1. #1
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    Jan 2005

    Pakistan Arrests 15 Over Mumbai Attacks

    Pakistan arrests 15 over Mumbai attacks


    Pakistan responded to intense pressure from the US to take action after the Mumbai attacks by arresting 15 people in a raid on a camp in the disputed region of Kashmir, an intelligence official said Monday.

    The arrests, which were made late Sunday, came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said there was evidence Pakistan had been used by "non-state actors" to mount the deadly attacks on India's financial capital.

    "I do think that Pakistan has a responsibility to act," she said in a television interview.

    The 15 arrested in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir were from an Islamic charity closely linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which India accuses of being behind the 60-hour siege, the intelligence official said.

    "Security forces raided a relief camp set up by Jamaat-ud-Dawa," he said.

    The operation was staged to get details about "the activities of the group in Kashmir in the wake of allegations by India that LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) was using Pakistani territory for training," he said.

    Jamaat-ud-Dawa is run by Hafiz Saeed, who founded Lashkar-e-Taiba in 1989. He abandoned the group when it was outlawed after India alleged it was behind a 2001 attack on parliament in New Delhi.

    The Mumbai siege left 172 people dead, including nine gunmen, and has badly soured ties between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain.

    One gunmen survived and is being interrogated by Indian authorities.

    India says all 10 gunmen involved in the assault came from Pakistan, and has handed Islamabad a list of 20 terror suspects, with demands for their arrest and extradition.

    Pakistani police arrested the 15 suspects near the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, where Laskhar is active.

    Pakistan daily Dawn quoted residents as saying troops had taken control of land on the outskirts of the town occupied by Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a site used by Lashkar before the Pakistan government banned the group in 2002.

    Pakistani government officials refused to confirm or deny the arrests.

    On Sunday, Rice -- who visited both India and Pakistan in the wake of the attacks -- said Islamabad must act quickly to help India prevent follow-on assaults.

    But she and Pakistan's foreign ministry denied media reports that Islamabad agreed to a 48-hour timetable set by the United States and India to take action against Pakistanis accused of involvement in the attacks.

    Meanwhile, US counter-terrorism and military officials are reassessing their view of Lashkar, and believe it to be more capable and a greater threat than they had previously recognized, The New York Times reported Monday.

    Citing unnamed US intelligence officials, the daily said Lashkar had gained strength in recent years with the help of Pakistan's main spy service, which has allowed the group to train and raise money.

    But US officials said there was no hard evidence linking Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to the Mumbai attacks, the report said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, 'Mumbai mastermind', among 12 arrested in Pakistan raids

    Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, LeT's operations chief
    Zahid Hussain, in Islamabad, and Jeremy Page, in Delhi

    Pakistani security forces have raided a training camp used by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group blamed for last month's attack on Mumbai, and arrested at least 12 of the group's activists, government officials said today.

    One Pakistani official told The Times that among those arrested was Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, LeT's operations chief, whom Indian officials have accused of masterminding the Mumbai attack.

    The raid last night near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, was Pakistan's first attempt to respond to mounting pressure from India and the United States to take action against LeT after the Mumbai strike.

    It is unlikely to satisfy either Delhi or Washington unless Islamabad follows up by prosecuting those arrested and taking further action against other militant groups linked to attacks on Indian soil.

    "We've seen before how Pakistan will arrest some militants, keep them for a couple of months and then release them when the world's not paying attention," said B. Raman, a former head of the Pakistan desk at the Research and Analysis Wing (India's MI6).

    "It must not be allowed to do that this time. They have to prosecute these people and dismantle the whole terrorist infrastructure," he told The Times.

    Pakistani security officials refused to confirm or deny publicly the raid or the arrests of the activists from LeT, which is thought to have close links to Pakistan's poweful Inter-Services Intelligence agency. But government officials, speaking off the record, said that Pakistani troops raided a large compound belonging to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the parent organisation of LeT, about three miles outside Muzaffarabad.

    Local residents said that they saw army helicopters taking part in the raid and heard gunfire and explosions.

    LeT was banned in Pakistan in 2002 after its militants attacked the Indian Parliament, prompting India and Pakistan to mass troops on their common border and almost sparking a fourth war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

    However, security analysts and officials said that LeT had continued to operate freely under the banner of JuD, which is led by LeT's founder, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Mr Saeed, who has denied any part in the Mumbai attacks, condemned yesterday's raid on his organisation's compound.

    "The operation against jihadi organisations in Pakistani Kashmir is unwarranted and we strongly condemn it," he said. "The Government has shown signs of weakness by targeting Kashmiri organisations . . . India wants to crush the independence movement of Kashmir using the Mumbai attacks as a pretext."

    Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, was also a founder of LeT and has worked under several aliases as the group's supreme operational commander. US officials said that he had directed the group's operations in Kashmir, Chechnya, Bosnia and Iraq.

    Also known as Abdullah Azam, he comes from Okara district in the central Pakistan province of Punjab, where Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only militant captured in the Mumbai attacks, was also born and raised.

    Indian investigators said that Kasab had identified Lakhvi as one of his LeT contacts and admitted to undergoing training at several militant camps in Pakistan, including one near Muzaffarabad.

    Yesterday's raid came only hours after Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, who visited India and Pakistan last week, urged Islamabad to act quickly and resolutely against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

    Also yesterday, the Pakistani Government declined to comment on a report that it had agreed to a 48-hour deadline set by the US and India to to form a plan of action against LeT and hand over Pakistanis suspected of involvement in the Mumbai attack.

    Top Pakistani civilian and military leaders are meeting in Islamabad today to discuss how to respond to the demands from India and the US. A senior Pakistani official told The Times that the crackdown against LeT and JuD could be extended to other areas of Pakistan.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Pakistan won't hand suspects to India

    Agence France-Presse

    ISLAMABAD (AFP) - “ Pakistan said Tuesday it would not hand over any suspects in the Mumbai bombings to India and warned that while it wanted peace with its neighbour, it was ready for war if New Delhi decided to attack.

    The remarks come amid mounting tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours after India said it was keeping all options open following last month's carnage in Mumbai, where 172 people were killed and more than 300 wounded.

    "We do not want to impose war, but we are fully prepared in case war is imposed on us," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

    "We are not oblivious to our responsibilities to defend our homeland. But it is our desire that there should be no war."

    Indian officials say the hardline Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which is based in Pakistan despite being banned by the government, is behind the bloodshed, and Indian media have suggested there could be Indian strikes on militant camps.

    Qureshi said he was sending "a very clear message" that his country did not want conflict with India.

    "We want friendship, we want peace and we want stability -- but our desire for peace should not be considered Pakistan's weakness."

    The minister also said that India's demands for the extradition of suspects in the Mumbai attacks were out of the question and that Pakistan, which has arrested 16 people since Saturday, would keep them on home soil.

    "The arrests are being made for our own investigations. Even if allegations are proved against any suspect, he will not be handed over to India," Qureshi said. "We will proceed against those arrested under Pakistani laws."

    India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain and nearly came to a fourth in 2001 after an attack on the Indian parliament that was blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which means Army of the Pious.

    Under international pressure to act, Pakistan on Sunday raided a camp run by a charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, that many believe has close links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, and arrested 15 people.

    Jamaat-ud-Dawa is headed by LeT's founder Hafiz Saeed.

    Pakistan has also detained LeT's operations director, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and the head of another Islamic group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said Tuesday.

    Indian media say the lone surviving attacker named Lakhvi as a key planner behind the Mumbai attacks.

    "Lakhvi was picked up yesterday (Monday). Azhar has also been picked up," Mukhtar told India's CNN-IBN channel, referring to Maulana Masood Azhar, head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed rebel group. Security officials had earlier suggested Lakhvi was arrested on Saturday.

    Azhar was captured by Indian security forces in Indian Kashmir in 1995 but freed by New Delhi in 1999 in return for the safe release of more than 160 passengers on board a hijacked Indian Airlines plane.

    He is reported to be on a list of people India last week asked Pakistan to extradite in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

    In a commentary published Tuesday in the New York Times, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said the arrests were proof that his country was committed to fighting terrorism.

    "As was demonstrated in Sunday's raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers," he wrote.

    The LeT has been banned by Pakistan, but India accuses Islamabad of not cracking down on the group, which was established to fight Indian rule in Kashmir and has past links to Pakistani intelligence services and Al-Qaeda.

    Two of the three India-Pakistan wars were fought over disputed Kashmir, which is controlled in part but claimed in whole by both nations, and the United States in particular has urged calm after the bloodshed in Mumbai.

    India has said that all 10 of the gunmen who carried out the brazen assault on Mumbai, the country's financial capital, were from Pakistan.

    The attackers, some of whom arrived by boat, targeted two luxury hotels, a hospital, a Jewish centre and other sites. They managed to hold off Indian security forces for 60 hours before nine were killed and one was captured.

    Referring to the arrests in Pakistan, the United States -- which counts Pakistan as a vital ally in the "war on terror" -- on Monday welcomed what it said were "some positive steps" taken by Islamabad.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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