Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Zardari Shows Resolve to Remove 'Irritants'

A senior Pakistani official Tuesday confirmed the arrest of the suspected mastermind of last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai as Indian authorities publicly identified all the known assailants as young men from Pakistan.

After a day of contradictory news reports and official silence, Pakistani Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar acknowledged that Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi had been "picked up" during a raid on a suspected militant camp in the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir.

Lakhvi is a senior commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic militant group suspected of carrying out the deadly rampage through hotels and other busy sites last month in Mumbai that left more than 170 people dead.

Mukhtar's confirmation came during an interview with the Indian news channel CNN-IBN, according to a transcript. He said that Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of the outlawed Kashmiri militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad, also had been detained, even though Azhar was merely "a small irritant."

"Our president is determined that we remove all irritants," Mukhtar said. "President Asif Ali Zardari is determined that we must cooperate with India, and we must take the people to task who have done . . . this operation."

Read it all here.

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