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Pakistan says it’s cooperating

Pak said that five training camps of the LeT, accused of being behind 26/11 attacks, had been shut down and 124 people associated with its sister organisation, the JuD, arrested. Kamal Siddiqi and Amit Baruah report.See special

world Updated: Jan 16, 2009 02:13 IST

Pakistan said on Thursday that five training camps of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), accused of being behind the Mumbai attacks, had been shut down and 124 people associated with its sister organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), arrested.

<b1>The people nabbed included JuD leaders Hafiz Saeed, Mufti Abdur Rehman and key operatives such as Colonel (retd) Nazir Ahmed, Amir Hamza and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

But Pakistan’s de facto interior minister, Rehman Malik said at the end of his press conference in Islamabad that 71 members of the banned groups had been detained and 124 others put under surveillance. Malik said nothing about Zarar Shah, LeT’s communications’ chief who, according to reports in the American press, had also been detained by Pakistan.

The Pakistani police are still to register a case related to the Mumbai attacks.

Malik said the Pakistani government had launched a probe into the Mumbai attacks soon after the tragic incident occurred. “The government has banned JuD publications and shut down six Dawah websites,” he said.

Giving details, Malik said the government had closed 20 offices, 87 schools and several madrasas run by JuD. “All activities of that particular organisation stand ceased,” he said.

Malik said he wanted India to allow Pakistani investigators to help in the investigation. “In such matters we need interaction and I request my counterpart please make the arrangements...where our investigators can interact with each other. Interaction will bring quick results,” he said.

Meanwhile, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee nuanced the government’s position that all those on Pakistani territory responsible for terrorist crimes in India be handed over to New Delhi. “It would be ideal if they (Pakistan’s government) can hand over the fugitives from India to us. If this is not possible, there should at least be a fair trial of these fugitives in Pakistan,” Mukherjee was quoted as telling a television channel.

In a related development, The News, a Pakistani daily, reported that Lakhvi, LeT’s chief operational commander, who was arrested on December 10 by the Pakistani authorities in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, was “furious” with the JuD leadership’s decision to publicly disown him in his “hour of trial”.

Lakhvi, alias Abu Waheed Irshad Ahmad, comes from the Okara district of Punjab province. Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone Mumbai attacker caught alive, belongs to the same area, the paper said.

First Published: Jan 15, 2009 15:07 IST