Pakistan launched its first major operation against the militant group accused of carrying out the Mumbai attacks raiding a camp of Lashkar-e-Taiba and capturing a man identified by India as one of the masterminds behind the terrorist strike. According to local reports 12 members of the banned group including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi accused by Delhi as being one of the planners of the carnage in India s financial centre were arrested in Sunday night s raid in the hills above Muzaffarabad the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. A helicopter gunship hovered overhead and gunfire was heard. Some Indian officials privately described it as “an important first step” though there was some scepticism in India about the nature of the raid. The “camp” that was stormed included a hospital a madrasa Islamic school and offices. However it was unclear whether it was a training facility for militants or just an administrative and charitable site. The complex was ostensibly being used by Jama t-ud-Da wah an Islamic organisation that it believed to be a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba LeT but claims no links. The camp was subsequently cordoned off. The Pakistan army acknowledged the raid but provided few details. “This is an intelligence-led operation against banned militant outfits ” said Major General Athar Abbas the chief spokesman of the Pakistani army. “There have been arrests and investigations are on. We are not disclosing any names … Further details will be available after preliminary investigations.”
Students and teachers honored the victims of last week’s attacks in Mumbai, India, in a school ceremony in Lucknow, India.
Pakistan’s decision to move against Lashkar-e-Taiba has come as a surprise to analysts in the country.
It also suggests a possible shift in policy by Islamabad towards the militant organisation. Pressure has come from India, which blames the militant group for the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks last month. Pakistan’s neighbour and long-time bitter rival has demanded that action be taken against Lashkar. …
It is an open secret that Pakistan’s security apparatus has employed militants in Afghanistan and Kashmir to further their regional agenda.Although 9/11 severely curtailed that policy, it is persistently argued that Islamabad continues to keep its options in this regard open. For that reason its operations against the Taleban have been viewed with scepticism. With this in mind, as a seasoned Kashmiri journalist puts it, Pakistan’s move against Lashkar holds portents rather than promises. “The closure of the Shawai camp is definitely significant and may go some way to appease wounded Indian feelings,” the journalist says. – bbc