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Jaish chief, 26/11 plotter held: Pak | LeT under attack

News18

Updated: December 9, 2008, 1:33 PM IST
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Jaish chief, 26/11 plotter held: Pak | <a href='http://www.news18.com/news/operation-against-let-to-go-on-pakistani--army/80139-2.html'>LeT under attack</a>
Pakistan Defence Minister says there's no troop movement towards Indian border.

Pakistani government says its security forces have arrested Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)'s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi - the alleged mastermind of Nov 26 attacks on Mumbai - and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar. Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN claims both Lakhvi and Azhar were arrested by security forces on Monday. He also says there is no movement of Pakistani troops towards Indian borders.

CNN-IBN: The Defence Committee of Cabinet met on Monday. What transpired?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: The details have come in media. The Committee discussed the events happening around us and how we have to fight this war against terror. How we have to act and how to help our neighbours to fight this war against terror. It is a war which is against everybody. It is a war against peace loving people of the world.

CNN-IBN: Does the meeting continue today?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: No the meeting was held yesterday only.

CNN-IBN: Are more meetings planned and more steps?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: I think we don't have to rush into things. We have to move very slowly to get hold of the right type of people who could be involved or who are likely to be involved. We don't know who they are, really and we are trying to find out. We will find out. There is no reason why we shouldn't be able to find out. That is why we have decided that if need be we can have a joint investigation and find out who these culprits are. These people who have done it want to make sure that there is no relationship between India and Pakistan. They are scared of the two countries developing into trading partners and having confidence of each other.

CNN-IBN: Till now there has been no words about Lashkar commander Lakhvi and if he has been picked up, no news of Masood Azhar. Can you confirm this?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: As far as Lakhvi (is concerned) it is on TV since day before yesterday. He has been picked up. About Masood Azhar, I don't think we had decided yesterday to pick him up but our President is determined that we remove all irritants and as a small irritant he has been picked up. President Asif Ali Zardari is determined that we must cooperate with India and we must take the people to task who have done thing, this operation.
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CNN-IBN: Sir, you confirm that these two have been picked up and being questioned perhaps?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: I am sure there will be questioning. Its not that we pick them up and keep them in 5-star hotel. They will be asked questions to find out if there are any linkages.

CNN-IBN: Sir, is there a possibility that India will be allowed to meet these people and perhaps ask them some questions that it has?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: Well, this is why we are saying that we should have a joint investigation team so that whatever questions your people have in mind can be discussed and something will come out of that. But if we don't have a joint investigation team then it will be the Pakistani side which will be grilling them and finding out what wrong they have done.

CNN-IBN: Sir as a gesture of goodwill could Pakistan perhaps as a special case allow Indian investigators to meet these two people and question them without getting into the joint investigation team?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: No, it can't be one way. What has happened in the past where fingers were pointed at us but ultimately turned out to be completely different? So we have objected to that and let the Indians have their investigations, like the Samjhauta Express blast case. Indians were investigating and found out the actual thing. So we feel that even if we investigate, we have to investigate from this angle that if Pakistan's sovereignty is at stake, Pakistan itself is at stake because we don't want to endanger the entire world. We are responsible people and we would love to take them to task.

CNN-IBN: So can we expect further actions in the days ahead against Jamaat and some of the other people whom India has suspicion about involvement in these and earlier attacks?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: Well I am sure and as I said earlier we are not going to stop here. We are going to take up all the leads and chains and try to join them.
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CNN-IBN: The joint investigation commission that Pakistan has proposed, it a road that we have gone down before and Indian has been very disappointed. Even the anti-terror mechanism that was set up, we find that we give the information and intelligence but Pakistan says it is not enough.

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: See Americans are saying they have ample proof of and you people also and TATAs are saying they had some information before hand. Why didn't they turn that to us? If they knew it, we could have nipped this in the bud. Why did they hide from us and let this whole operation be completed?

CNN-IBN: Can you deny that there are a lot of questions about Pakistan's credibility. Every statement that comes out seems to lack credibility, seem to lack truth. Can you deny that this a sense overwhelmingly that Pakistan conveys?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: No, there is nothing at this moment to doubt our credibility. We are very honest in this. Pakistan state is not involved. It is some non-state organs were involved in this.

CNN-IBN: Are there any movements of Pakistani troops from the western frontier towards India?

Chaudhry Mukhtar Ahmed: No, No. Not at all. There is no movement of troops towards the Indian border and the troops are sitting wherever they were sitting before this incident happened.

First Published: December 9, 2008, 1:33 PM IST
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