100 LT, Jaish men held

Published January 2, 2002

ISLAMABAD, Jan 1: Pakistan authorities have arrested about 100 officials and activists of two Kashmiri militant groups accused of involvement in last month’s attack on the Indian parliament, a spokesman for one group said on Tuesday.

“Police and security forces in a crackdown on Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Mohammad have picked up around 100 members and leaders of both the parties,” Lashkar spokesman Yahya Mujahid told AFP.

He said around 70 supporters of Jaish-i-Mohammad, whose leader Maulana Masood Azhar is already in detention, had been detained over the past few days.

Police also arrested more than two dozen Lashkar officials and activists, Mujahid said.

Pakistan arrested on Sunday Lashkar leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

Mujahid condemned the crackdown as unjustified.

“We are against all acts of terrorism and we have repeatedly said we are not involved in the Dec 13 attack on the Indian parliament,” he said.

The attack triggered a dangerous military confrontation between the nuclear-armed states.

India accused Lashkar and Jaish of mounting the attack with the backing of Pakistani military intelligence, a charge which Islamabad denies.

The arrests follow pressure for a crackdown from India and the United States although Pakistan denies it is responding to this.

Mujahid said the Lashkar had already halted its activities in Pakistan and shifted its offices to Azad Kashmir.

“There is no Lashkar setup now in Pakistan,” he said.

No Jaish official was available for comment.

The Urdu-language daily Ummat, considered close to Islamic radical parties in Pakistan, said Jaish had closed its offices in Pakistan and its leaders gone underground.

Sources in southern Sindh said police had closed Jaish offices in Sukkur and some other cities.

A police officer said security agencies handed over two senior Jaish officials, Abdul Rehman and Sohail Ahmed, to police in Sukkur on Monday.—AFP

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