* Saeed Shah in Islamabad
* guardian.co.uk, Monday December 8 2008 16.56 GMT
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi speaks during a rally in April 2008 Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi speaks during a rally in April 2008. Photograph: Abu Arqam Naqash/Reuters
Pakistan today captured a suspected mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in a raid on a camp run by Lashkar-e-Taiba, the jihadist group accused by Delhi of carrying out the assault on India’s commercial capital.
Pakistani authorities moved after indications India was considering air strikes against Lashkar-e-Taiba camps inside Pakistan if there was no action by Islamabad.
Twelve members of the group were arrested last night by the army in the town of Muzaffarabad, according to reports, including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, named by India as one of the planners of the Mumbai attacks, which left 171 people dead. A helicopter gunship hovered overhead during the raid, and gunfire was heard.
Muzaffarabad is the regional capital of the part of Kashmir held by Pakistan and is the nerve-centre of jihadist activity aimed across the “line of control” to the part of Kashmir ruled by India.
The raid was the first concrete sign of a crackdown against militants in Pakistan following the attack on Mumbai. 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 includes a hospital, a madrassa (Islamic school) and offices; it was unclear whether it was a training facility for militants. As it was on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, it may only have been an administrative and charitable site. The complex was ostensibly being used by Jamaat ud Dawa, an Islamic organisation believed to be a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, but which claims to have no Islamist links.
The camp was subsequently sealed and the area cordoned. 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 for the army. “There have been arrests and investigations are on. We are not disclosing any names. Further details will be available after preliminary investigations.”
There was no move against the alleged headquarters of Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is located just outside the eastern city of Lahore at Muridke. The group has denied involvement in the Mumbai attack.
Lakhvi is alleged to be the operations chief of the militant group and, according to some reports, recruited Ajmal Ameer Kasab, the lone gunman caught alive during the Mumbai assault.
It is unclear what happened to Lakhvi after his arrest. Also, the whereabouts of Yusuf Muzammil, the head of India activities who has been named by Indian officials as the other main planner of the Mumbai attack, is unknown. Reports suggested Indian authorities had asked for both men to be handed over.
Some locals in Muzaffarabad suggested some aspects of the raid may have been staged, and there are rumours the militants were tipped off. In the past, Pakistan has arrested the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, but then quietly let him go.
Analysts see little chance that Lakhvi or any other major Lashkar-e-Taiba commander will actually be given up to India. Pakistan’s president, Asif Zardari, has said that anyone detained in Pakistan will be tried there.
Pakistan is under intense international pressure to act against Lashkar-e-Taiba but any concerted attempt to quash the group in Pakistan would be likely be met with a violent response by its followers and a political backlash, placing Islamabad in a no-win position.
Today, the Pakistani government again complained that India had not shared evidence it claims to have on the participation of groups or individuals based in Pakistan. Islamabad also proposed that it would send a “high level delegation” to New Delhi.
“The main site of LeT is Muridke, Lahore, but they haven’t done that,” said Vikram Sood, an analyst in New Delhi and former head of India’s RAW intelligence agency. “I wouldn’t say this is a major move but I think it’s to pre-empt any [Indian] action.”
Within Pakistan, the religious right was predictably scathing over the Muzaffarabad raid.
“We’ve known for a long time that it [the camp] was there. If we wanted to take action, we should have done so, but not under external pressure we now face,” said Fazlur Rehman, the head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, a hardline religious party that is part of the ruling coalition in Islamabad.
Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the head of the other main religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, said: “This [raid] is wrong. It’s all a conspiracy by India and the US. This action shows up the weakness of this [Pakistani] government.”
What do ordinary Pakistanis think? Some comments:
December 8th, 2008 at 12:41 pm
we must accept our negligence to handle the terrorists activities inside pakistan.all the activities inside or outside pakistan are patronised by our (so called)security agencies,just for the political reasons.they simply turn the situation into an other way.agencies are responsible.
December 8th, 2008 at 1:21 pm
Has anyone gone into the depth of why the Air Chief Marshall may have issued the statement about Pakistan’ capability?
Has anyone also gone into the depth of why our Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani issued multiple statements against drone attacks stating at a few occasions that Pakistan would retaliate. He even issued orders for two F16s to patrol the tribal areas more than twice.
While looking at the above two questions that I have put for you, please remember that under our previous president, General Pervaiz Musharraf, not once did ISPR or any officer from the Pakistani Army or Airforce made a statement against the attacks or even implicitly against America.
Please also remember that the civilian government issued orders for the closure of ISI political cell. And ISPR issued statement that ISI political cell has not been “closed”, but made “inactive” after the Prime Minister made an announcement that the political cell had been closed.
Within 3 days of the Prime Minister’s statement and its partial refutation, terrorists struck Mumbai.
Ask ourselves what maybe going on and things would hopefully sit in place for all of us. You must also ensure that the commentary should be neutral. Patriotism does not demand that we close our eyes when the name Gilani or the word army is mentioned. I am asking you to question everything.
Also, please check Dawn Main page’s news on:
Please check out the above article (along with my note above) to make sense of what may be going on between our military, civilian government, India and our innocent people.
Once you have a clear mind (cleared of your biases towards one thing or another), you may notice:
Army is trying to rescue itself by issuing statements which are directly in conflict with the civilian government.
I am not in love with the civilian government, but why the hell should those whose primary responsibility is on the borders of our country issue statements to undermine a sitting government when they, themselves, when in power, are the worst kind of puppets for the foreigners.
A few days ago, controversy surrounded the statement by an air chief marshall who said we can take out the drones and it is well within our capability. Remind this intellectually dishonest cheat where he was when during Musharraf’s time so many attacks took place – in fact, it was Musharraf who was the chief architect of this whole (drone, “strongly condemn”) arrangement.
That said, our army is trying to regain the public confidence, that it presumably thought it once had, by issuing statements whose nature is not logistical, military, or professional. These are political statements telling the Pakistanis how incapable and inept, lacking any balls, their government is.
I would also like to point out that on the one hand we have our corrupt leader Zard-ari offering help to the Indians on investigation (to assure them that Pakistan had nothing to do with it), and on the other hand, I would not rule out the possibility that the attackers were trained by our own ISI.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, when created this horrible political cell, did not know that he would be unable to curb its powers. Now, we have had a credibility issue. Army on the one hand trying to reassert itself by, on the one hand, arranging these attacks, because it was not happy with our corrupt leadership’s statement issued to all major newspapers 12 days ago that Pakistan will not be the first country to use nuclear weapons.
Zardari made statements which he, as President of Pakistan, should never had made (such as the one using the words “non-state actors”). He wanted to shrug responsibility, but in doing so, he assumed more responsibility than he would have if he had only kept quiet or even outright defiant.
Our army lives, breaths, sleeps and mates with the Kashmir issue. It is weak without an Indian threat (in its own eyes and in the eyes of the Pakistani public). So, it is now again creating that Indian threat. It is also trying to destabilize a sitting government (whether or not we like that government, that aside for now) just as Musharraf arranged the Kargil adventure (or misadventure) so he could later claim, “Nawaz Sharif’s run to Washington made us loose a war which was already won”.
Any sensible thoughts which may be unbiased and which can be tested through available facts and theory?
December 8th, 2008 at 1:34 pm
Technically, is Azad Kashmir a part of Pakistan? If India chooses to go for a surgical strike there or Pakistan retaliates by attacking occupied Kashmir, would that be considered a violation of international borders? Isnt the two parts of Kashmir seperated by a line of control? Can the government’s decision to act before India does, be considered right as it will deny India an oppurtunity to do things herself, frankly I donot know, not for now atleast.
December 8th, 2008 at 3:04 pm
First you have to understand what is Pakistan Army & who is Pakistan Army only then you can accuse PA.
PA is a body of Core Commanders working under COAS–Under Constitution of Pakistan COAS is servant of civil Govt but a God within the body of core commanders–where core commanders are consulted but theres no voting system that 7 CC have one opinion & 5 have other–COAS is decision maker, not bound to go with majority–He may disregard all 7+5 opinions & come up with his own unique opinion or decision.
So to say Army has its own thinking is partially right but it changes with COAS to COAS.
COAS may not have imposed his own thinking if civilian Govt is strong which is not the case in Pakistan.
I agree with you theres a tussle between Army & Civilian Govt. Kiyani goes everywhere after Zardari either it be China or USA–smells of trouble.
ISI character also changes with the chief operator either it be Army or Civilian Operator. Since Zia-ul-Haq ISI is working for American interests with a slight difference in all the era & big difference in Musharaf era.
Hamid Gul was ISI Chief when fighting against Soviet Union or Jihad against Invasion in Afghanistan. There was a National & Islamic Character included with American interest so its hard to say who was playing whom–Character of Hamid Gul can not be declared as puppet of foreign powers neither he did out of greed so when he talks we can feel a pride in his character.
Yes theres one most corrupted ISI Chief who can never face the public–He is right hand of Musharaf–Gen. Mehmood Ahmed.
What Musharaf wrote in his book that he rcvd a call from Washington is all BS–He knew all about 9/11 well before it happened & everything was planned even post 9/11 impacts & strategy with CIA.
We can not blame India for pointing their fingers towards ISI every time something happened because they have some knowledge of ISI which our Govt. never deny strongly.
Indian Intelligence found out the money trail to Hijacker Atta Mohammad–That was $100000/- sent by Omar Saeed Sheikh(also an ISI & Al-Qaida operator) on instructions of Gen. Mehmood Ahmed(ISI Chief)–This story was also confirmed by FBI but it was suppressed by western media & CIA–It only got a place on Wall Street Journal(internet version only)then removed from online version also as done by Fox News on many stories linking Israelis to 9/11.
Because of leakage of his linkage to money trail Gen Mehmood was removed as an ISI Chief–This story many Pakistanis do not know.
Please follow this link
Gen Mehmood was also in Washington DC on the eve of 9/11.
December 8th, 2008 at 4:02 pm
I have asked so many Pakistani will try even here the same question.
What in your view constitutes evidence because whatever India provides you claim it’s not strong evidence. If you are looking for paper trail then in events like these that’s next to impossible.
BTW here is Irfan Hussain journalist of dawn.com vouching for my point.
Each time an atrocity like Mumbai occurs, and Pakistan is accused of being involved, the defensive mantra chanted by the chorus of official spokesmen is: “Show us the proof.” The reality is that in terrorist operations planned in secret, there is not much of a paper trail left behind. Nine times out of ten, the perpetrators do not survive to give evidence before a court. But in this case, one terrorist did survive, and Ajmal Amir Kamal’s story points to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. The sophistication of the attack is testimony to careful planning and rigorous training.
December 8th, 2008 at 6:27 pm
“Character of Hamid Gul can not be declared as puppet of foreign powers neither he did out of greed so when he talks we can feel a pride in his character.”
The one who has confessed and apologized to the nation several times for his ‘acheivements’, no subsequent inquiry or trial. Is it a PRIDE? It is shame.
All these rtd. generals (Baig, Gul etc.), while in power spent all of their energies and resources for doing conspiracies against Civilians. Once their tenure is over they pretend like Champions of Democracy.
Gen Yahya/Gen Niazi– After loosing half of the country– died naturally not for saving the country—- burried wraped in national flag with great HONOR. What a pride.
Gen. Zia’s bruial ceremony– with full national HONOR. What a Pride
Gene Musharraf stepped down: again Guard of HONOR. What a pride.
Are these words HONOR/PRIDE are devoted for these Generals for their shameful acts?
December 8th, 2008 at 7:30 pm
Pride is what you feel not what you see.
All the Ibrahimic Prophets lacks your definition of pride–They were shepherd & Peasants & belong to Masses.
Pharaoh had all the pride he traveled with dignity & grace with slaves prostrating before & around him–that is very similar to pride of Guard of Honor you so impressed of.
You add one more merit to Hamid Gul that he confessed & apologize to nation many times.
Hopefully now you will understand the difference between Adam & Iblees–In these two characters theres a whole philosophy of life one was arrogant & other repent & cry–One was thrown out other was forgiven–Since then theres a follow up of these two trends & it will continue until the day of judgment. You make up your mind which group you want to belong.
Although Hamid Gul was not the Chief Operator–He was an important part of Zia Setup as ISI Chief–He feel guilt of Zia Policies because he had seen the repercussions of his policies–He feel guilt because he had an important roll under those policies.
Perhaps he does not feel the pride but we do because we believe his conscience was clear that whatever he was doing it was under pretense that it will bring good to the people of Pakistan & Islam–unfortunately it turn out be a mistake but he did not do it for money or personal benefits or exclusively as American bidding–thats where we feel pride in him.
Army is the only viable institution left in Pakistan which can save Pakistan if & when the time comes–Your vehement against Pakistan Army is not appreciated.
December 8th, 2008 at 8:03 pm
Why we cannot have peace. Why cannot we live with our neighbours.Why should we go to war. Are we not capable of having peaceful relations with our neighbour and the rest of the world. Why not initiate why not take the first step.Don’t you think others will respect us for that.
December 8th, 2008 at 8:05 pm
So 2 weeks of our media aggression has gone down the drain? So is India has spoken the truth first time in the history? It is hard to believe… I would like to know more details about this new development.
What Hamid Mir, Kashif Abbasi and Talat would say and how would we defend ourselves to international media!!
December 8th, 2008 at 8:14 pm
‘Pride is what you feel not what you see.’
Now compare these comments of yours with these comments.
‘He feel guilt because he had an important roll under those policies.’
What feeling he has, GUILT or PRIDE?
It is a separate debate whether PRIDE is only a subjective feeling or it has objective manifestations also.
‘You add one more merit to Hamid Gul that he confessed & apologize to nation many times’.
If someone commits a murder or other crime, offering apologies is not enough.
A civilian has to undergo punishment for confessing a crime. An army general will become a hero if he confess a crime. That is our basic problem. We have differnt sets of criterias for different categories of people. This is known as unjuistice.
You can use historical events of past but there should be a limit. How you can compare a general of current era, confessing a crime ( not mistake), whith a prophet.
You can compare any person with a prophet and point out mistakes of prophet jut to justify a Generals. this is not appreciable either.
These generals are not prophets. Making them MUQADDAS GAAY has brought us down to this level.
‘Army is the only viable institution left in Pakistan’.
Because rest of the institutions have been destroyed by use of power by this ‘only’ viable institution. There power (given by wealth generated by labours, farmers etc. for their lucritive expenditure)was supposed to be used against enemy. Rather than that was utilized against their own people and institutions. This is an auto immune disorder (in which once own body’s tissues get destroyed by body’s own immune system).
as Per Late Ahmed Faraz
Meray Paasban Meray Naqab Zan
Mera Mulk Mulk-e-Yateem Hay
Mera Des Ameer-e-Sipah Ka
Mere Shehar maal-e-ghaneem hay
December 8th, 2008 at 8:30 pm
I wrote everything in English–where did I write he feels pride–I said he feels guilt thats why we feel pride in him.
To my knowledge theres no murder charges on him.
He did not confess a CRIME–He confessed policy of Afghan Jihad on American prompting was a mistake–Although he did not make those policies.
“You can compare any person with a prophet and point out mistakes of prophet jut to justify a Generals. this is not appreciable either.”
Mr. I do not want to insult your intellect–I believe you are grown up man.
I am not comparing General’s mistakes with Prophet’s mistakes.
I believe every word in Quran has a message–do you think all these narratives in Quran are just fantasy readings that Mr. Ibrahim should read them & enjoy–These narratives has message & whole philosophy of life.
December 8th, 2008 at 9:35 pm
You don’ need to apologize. I understand that we all sitting in front of computer leaving all other activities because we all have good and sincere intentions for our beloved country.
Please don’t ignore the crucial facts that I am trying to point out.
Creating IJI by bribing political right wing leadership and those confesses and apologies comitted by group of retired army generals taht included Gen. Gul. Their resons for apology in their on words
“for imposing martial laws in the past, abrogating the Constitution several times, and not letting democracy flourish in the last 60 years”
Ref. = Daily Times, February 01, 2008).
I don’t concider them mistakes. They are crimes. As you targeted my word ” murder” which I used as an example, not as literal meaning (I am not concidering it as your lack of intellact).
I am not accusing these general for comitting murder of one human being. I am accusing them for murdering the future of 170 million people. I am not willing to forgive them, no matter you bring QASAS-UL-AMBIA in their defance.
‘do you think all these narratives in Quran are just fantasy readings that Mr. Ibrahim should read them & enjoy–’
I agree. These are not fantacies. But their purpose is to promote juistice. It is extremely unjust to not only forgive but portray them as a hero.
December 8th, 2008 at 10:15 pm
We can longer keep playing dumb about ISI connection with LeT and other jihadi groups. It is a well known and old link. Of course if Pakistan supportes militants/terrorists that attack India, India and the World will blame Pakistan and take action.
What can you expect if you try to scam the world with our duplicitous policies? Either we come out in support of jihadi movement and say that we are prepared to destroy Pakistan for the sake of jihadis or we destroy the jihadi and other terror networks. No other choice is left. This game can no longer be played on the lives of innocent people by killers like Hamid Gul, Javid Nasir, Khalid Khwaja etc.
December 8th, 2008 at 10:20 pm
It is sad that we cannot prosecute criminals like hamid gul in pakistan ourselves but need foreign directions to do the right thing.
December 9th, 2008 at 1:02 am
Why the HELL did they wait for Mumbai carnage to happen, before taking action against terrorist living and operating freely in Pakistan?
The sad fact is the current rulers don’t really have a stake in the future of Pakistan. They only act against terrorist in Pakistan, when immense pressure is put on them by the international community.
Ghost Of TK Says:
December 9th, 2008 at 1:26 am
@atarxis6: Although I agree that most of our political leadership is corrupt and spineless, I think in this case it has to do with the abusive behaviour of the army brass and their real bosses the americans.
Our politicans act like abused children and don’t know what is the ‘right course’ because they might get beaten by the drunk abusive parent ie; the army coas.
This action is happening because there is the threat of force (read: the american plus indian boot up the jurnails’ ar$e) which the jurnails abhor with a passion.
They have NO respect for the people or their representatives.. .but they comply like shameless b!tches when cuntolickza tells them to do it or get their houses burnet