Journalist | Writer | Analyst
‘Let’s see if they have actually been locked up. Or simply moved from one state guest house to another…”
9 December 2008
India in ‘wait and watch’ mode to Pakistan arrests
New Delhi: India on Monday reacted cautiously to reports from Pakistan that security agencies there had taken into custody senior Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives wanted in connection with the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
Though Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) — the publicity wing of the Pakistani armed forces — on Monday formally noted that an “intelligence-led operation against banned militant outfits and organisations” is under way and that “arrest and investigations are on,” Indian officials told The Hindu that the nature of the action being taken was still not clear. According to Pakistani newspapers, LeT commanders Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah are among those arrested, though no official in that country has been willing to confirm this on record.
“We don’t know if they have really been arrested, nor do we know what being arrested actually means. For example, are they really being locked up or merely being transferred from one state guest house to another,” an official said.
The officials also cautioned against reading too much into Pakistan’s reply to India’s December 1 demarche in which New Delhi had asked Islamabad to take “strong action” against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
In its reply on Monday, Pakistan essentially reiterated what it has been saying publicly over the past five days, the officials said, including an assurance that it would not allow its territory to be used to stage terrorist strikes against its neighbours and an offer of a joint investigation.
India, the officials said, was less interested in assurances and wanted Pakistan to act decisively against terrorist groups operating on its territory.
The officials dismissed the emphasis being placed on the extradition of Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon and the ‘list of 20 most wanted fugitives’ as media speculation, and reiterated that India had made a number of specific, well-focussed demands which it was not prudent to speak about in public.