Pakistan cracks down on
LeT in face of US pressure
Muhammad Najeeb and Arun Kumar
Dec 8 (IANS) With pressure mounting from the US to act against
the suspected perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani
security forces have begun a crackdown on the Lashkar-e-Taiba
terror group that India has blamed for the outrage, arresting
its commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi and 19 other fighters.
an operation that began Sunday, Pakistani security forces
also sealed a camp of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, as the LeT was renamed
after it was proscribed, in the Shawai Nullah neighbourhood
of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.
and US intelligence officials say that the Lashkar-e-Taiba
(LeT) terror group was involved in the Mumbai strikes.
chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed reacted angrily to the raids, saying
the operation was being conducted "under Indian pressure"
and was "unwarranted".
to Geo News, Saeed said that the targeting of Kashmiri organizations
"without any proof" was an "expression of weakness".
forces had Sunday "launched a 'quiet' crackdown on activists
belonging to the banned jihadi outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba in different
parts of the country and Azad Jammu and Kashmir," Dawn
newspaper said Monday.
are reports that similar action is being planned in some cities
and towns of Punjab province.
is believed that the action taken by Pakistan against the
Lashkar-e-Taiba will defuse to some extent the growing tension
between the two neighbours," Dawn said.
Islamabad, no one from the government was available to comment
on the media reports because of the Eid holidays.
and civil administration officials in Muzaffarabad told reporters
they did not know what was happening," Dawn said.
residents, however, said they had seen army personnel taking
control of the area along Shawai Nullah, some five km northwest
of Muzaffarabad, where Jamaat-ud-Dawa possesses a large plot
of land on which several buildings had been built.
Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) of Hafiz Saeed occupied the same place
before the organisation was proscribed," Dawn said.
saw an army helicopter hovering over the area and around 5
p.m. I heard two or three loud explosions," a woman who
lives in the area told the newspaper on the telephone.
person said: "The helicopter may have airlifted people
detained or injured during the operation."
were unconfirmed reports of an exchange of fire.
Washington, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterated
that "non-state actors" acting from Pakistan's territory
were still its responsibility.
think there's no doubt that Pakistani territory was used by
probably non-state actors," she said in interviews with
US television networks Sunday though she did not "think
that there is compelling evidence of involvement of Pakistani
on CNN, Rice said: "I do think that Pakistan has a responsibility
to act, and it doesn't matter that they're non-state actors."
Islamabad's ties with Washington as well as with India at
stake, Pakistan must take action against the militants, Rice
said. "The key here is that this investigation needs
to go forward. It needs to be transparent," she added.
to clarify her use of the he word "probably," Rice
said: "I think that the evidence is that the terrorists
did use territory in Pakistan."
she declined to say whether the terrorists trained in Pakistan
or if they had any cooperation or if she believed that the
LeT responsible for the Mumbai assault.
about the relationship between LeT and the Pakistani government
or its intelligence or military services, Rice said: "Well,
there have been historic ties. There's no doubt about that."
a separate report Monday, headlined "Pak plan to mend
fences with India", Dawn said: "Pakistan is sending
an important message to the Indian leadership this week pertaining
to the heightening of tension between the two nuclear neighbours."
message is expected to greatly help in easing the situation.
Pakistan's high commissioner in India Shahid Malik, who is
reaching here mid-week for the highest-level consultations,
would carry the message to New Delhi," the newspaper