India may be allowed to interrogate Lakhwi, Azhar: Pakistan minister

December 9th, 2008 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) Confirming the arrests of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi, a top suspect in the Mumbai terror strikes, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Pakistani Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar Tuesday said India may be allowed to interrogate them. Ruling out any movement of Pakistani troops towards Indian borders, Mukhtar asserted that Pakistan will “help India in every possible way” and made a renewed pitch for joint investigations into the Mumbai attack - a suggestion that India has spurned.

“Lakhwi was picked up yesterday (Monday). Azhar has also been picked up,” Mukhtar told CNN-IBN in a telephonic interview in first comments by the Pakistani government on the arrests of the militant leaders who are wanted in connection with different terror strikes in India.

While Lakhwi is seen as one of the masterminds of the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strikes, Azhar is wanted by India for his alleged links to the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

Claiming that Islamabad was cracking down on terror groups, Mukhtar said: “No one can doubt our credibility. We have discussed how we can help our neighbours in fighting terrorism.”

“We are ready to help India in every possible way. Joint investigations will help in probing the Mumbai attack,” Mukhtar asserted.

“We will help India in joint investigations… India may be allowed to interrogate these people also,” he added.

Mukhtar also challenged both US and India to furnish proof of terrorists being trained in Pakistan. “Both US and India say they have ample proof but why is it hidden from us?” he asked.

“There is no movement of troops on the Indian border,” he said.

India is keeping a close watch on the crackdown by Pakistan’s security forces on terror camps and has emphasized “concrete action” in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in which India suspects the hand of Pakistan-based elements.

India has asked Pakistan to take strong action against suspected Mumbai attackers operating from its territory and wants Islamabad to hand over fugitives from Indian law who are suspected of masterminding various terror strikes in India.

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