Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Azhar under house arrest
Azhar under house arrest
SNS and PTI
NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD, Dec. 9: Under pressure from India and the USA, Pakistan has detained Jaish chief Masood Azhar, a day after the arrest of suspected Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi, but Islamabad said it will not hand them over to New Delhi and they would be tried under the country’s own laws.
India is watching the situation but there is a certain amount of scepticism in official circles. Officials in the ministry of external affairs said Pakistan has indulged in this kind of ‘token’ behaviour before.
Though Pakistani authorities turned down India’s demand for Azhar’s extradition, they put him under house arrest in his Bahawalpur home yesterday.
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, speaking in Multan today, ruled out handing over Azhar or Lakhwi to India. “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 ,” Mr Qureshi said. “We will proceed against (them) under Pakistani laws,” he added.
Defence minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar also ruled out giving India access to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi, who is alleged to have masterminded the Mumbai terror strikes. Speaking to an Indian TV channel, he said questioning could be done only by Pakistani authorities to ascertain whether he had any link to the attacks. He said India's “concerns” can be discussed through a joint investigation mechanism which Islamabad has proposed to be set up to probe the Mumbai attacks.
MEA officials, however, maintained that India will continue to press for Lakhwi to be handed over.
On Monday, Pakistan rejected India’s demand to extradite Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon who are Indian citizens. The two countries do not have an extradition treaty, which is being cited as one of the reasons for not handing over the fugitives sought by India.
According to Dawn News channel, restrictions were imposed on Azhar’s movements and he was confined to his Bahawalpur home, which has been ringed by security personnel.
The Pakistan army said the crackdown against the LeT will continue. “More arrests are expected,” an army official said.
Lakhwi, who was picked up during a raid on an LeT camp on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, was quizzed today about his role, if any, in the Mumbai carnage, reports said. Troops reportedly raided five more suspected LeT camps in PoK in the past 24 hours on information given by Lakhwi.
India raises Mumbai strikes at UN
Raising the Mumbai terror attacks before the UN Security Council, India today said it was sponsored from across the border and asked Pakistan to act against terrorism emanating from its soil. Minister of state for external affairs, Mr E Ahamed, intervening in a debate on terrorism, also sought an international ban on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the front organisation of the LeT, and similar groups and effective sanctions against them.