By SALMAN MASOOD
Published: January 15, 2009
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Vowing to cooperate with India in the investigations
of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, a Pakistani official said Thursday that 124 people had been arrested in a crackdown against a group linked with the attacks and urged India to provide more evidence to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In a televised news conference, the official, Rehman Malik, a senior figure in the Interior Ministry, said the Pakistani government had formed a high-level investigation committee that would examine information provided by India.
He said a ranking police officer would head the committee. Investigators in Pakistan will “have to inquire into this information to try to transform it to evidence, evidence which can stand the test of any court in the world and of course our own court of law,” Mr. Malik said.
“We are with you in this difficult time,” Mr. Malik said while assuring a transparent investigation. But he stressed the need for cooperation between investigators from India and Pakistan. “We should share real-time information,” he said.
Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors has worsened since the November attacks that killed more than 160 people.
Mr. Malik said top and mid-ranking leaders of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity that is seen as a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant organization India has blamed to be behind the Mumbai attacks, have been detained. He added that five camps, 20 offices, 87 schools and six Web sites affiliated with Jamaat-ud-Dawa had been shut down.
Mr. Malik said the government had no knowledge of the whereabouts of Maulana Masood Azhar, the founder of Jaish-e-Muhammad, another extreme Islamist group suspected of involvement in the attacks. India has demanded that Pakistan hand over Mr. Azhar. India and Pakistan have no extradition treaty and Pakistani officials say any Pakistani national who is accused of involvement will be tried in a Pakistani court.