Pakistani interior minister chief Rehman Malik boasted at an Islamabad press conference that authorities have arrested more than 120 in a crackdown on groups allegedly linked to the Mumbai attacks. However, he dodged a question on whether Pakistan was conceding that the plot that killed over 180 people in the Indian metropolis was hatched on his country’s soil.
“We have arrested a total of 124 people belonging to banned groups and are committed to working with India on the war on terror,” said Rehman Malik. India blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba as mastermind of the November attack. In the aftermath, the UN Security Council declared that Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity in Pakistan, was a front for the outlawed organization.
Malik said the arrests took place in raids on 20 offices, 87 schools, two libraries, seven religious schools, and a handful of other organizations linked to the charity. He also said authorities had shut several relief camps of the charity, some of which have been alleged to be terrorist training grounds. It was unclear exactly how many of the detainees remained in custody. Among those who are being held—possibly under house arrest—is Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, said to be the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Also in custody are Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah, two men India says planned the Mumbai attacks.
Malik repeated Pakistani calls for a joint investigation into the attacks, which he pledged would “bring quick results.” He urged India to hand over more information to assist Pakistan’s own probe. But he appeared to rule out handing over suspects to India, saying Pakistani laws allowed for the prosecution of citizens who committed crimes elsewhere. “We have to prove to the world that India and Pakistan stand together against terrorists because they are the common enemies,” Malik said. (The Economic Times, India, Jan. 15)