Pakistan detains 2nd alleged plotter
Called key player in planning the Mumbai assault
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan announced the arrest of a second alleged key player behind the terror assault on Mumbai, and officials stressed yesterday that they are investigating an Islamic charity the United States and India call a front for the group blamed for the attack.
India, which has insisted on concrete evidence that Pakistan is quelling militant groups, is urging the United Nations to declare the charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a terrorist organization.
A crackdown on Jamaat-ud-Dawa would underpin the promise by Pakistan's civilian government to pursue extremists blamed for last month's terrorist attack, which killed 171 people in India's commercial capital.
But Pakistani officials say India has not shared evidence from its investigation of the attack, underlining the mistrust between the nuclear-armed neighbors that is hampering US efforts to avert a deeper crisis.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Pakistani authorities have detained Zarrar Shah, an alleged leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the banned Islamic militant group that India says was responsible for the Mumbai attack.
Indian news reports citing intelligence officials identified Shah as Lashkar's communications chief and said he worked out ways for the group's leaders in Pakistan to stay in touch with the 10 gunmen during the three-day siege in Mumbai.
The New York Times has reported that the attackers and their handlers used Internet phone services to make it harder for investigators to trace their calls.
Gilani also confirmed that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, another alleged plotter identified by India, was detained during a raid Sunday in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir. That predominantly Muslim region in the Himalayas is claimed by both nations and has been the focus of two of their three wars since 1947.
The prime minister said Pakistani authorities had staged raids on militants based on information released by Indian authorities through the media.
"That is a good message to our neighbors and the rest of the world that Pakistan is a responsible nation. We want to defuse this situation," Gilani said in Multan, a central Pakistani city that India says was the hometown of two of the Mumbai attackers.
US officials have told Pakistan that it must go beyond mere arrests and prevent any repeat of the Mumbai attack, whose victims included six Americans. India released information Tuesday purporting to show that all 10 gunmen in Mumbai were from Pakistan.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff underlined the Bush administration's position yesterday, praising Pakistan's steps so far but adding that it will take time to see how serious the crackdown is.
"We measure by deeds," said Admiral Mike Mullen, who visited Pakistan and India last week.
Washington wants the South Asian rivals to resume a painstaking peace process so Pakistan can focus on fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda militants along the Afghan frontier.
Meanwhile, at the United Nations, a Security Council panel yesterday designated Lakhvi and three others allegedly linked to the attacks who hold leadership positions in Lashkar-e-Taiba as terrorists subject to sanctions.
In addition to Lakhvi, Lashkar's operations chief, the other three facing sanctions are Muhammad Saeed, the group's leader; Haji Muhammad Ashraf, its chief of finance; and Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a financier with the group.