Pakistani security forces detained one of the masterminds in the Nov. 26 Mumbai terror assault, according to reports from Pakistan. Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi was detained along with eight other members of Lashkar-e-Taiba were arrested during raids on a camp and offices operated by the terror group in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who is also know as Chachaji, serves as the military commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terror group founded by Hafiz Saeed. The identity of the eight others detained in the operation has not been disclosed. A spokesman for the Lashkar-e-Taiba confirmed Lakhvi and several others were detained.
Security forces raided a Lashkar camp in Shwai Nullah in Muzaffarabad. A maddrassa and a school were also raided by Pakistani forces.
Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed the camp was run by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a purported charitable organization, and not the Lashkar-e-Taiba. But Jamaat-ud-Dawa is merely a front for the Lashkar. Hafiz Saeed renamed Lashkar-e-Taiba to the Jamaat-ud-Dawa after the organization was banned by the Pakistani government after the attacks on the Indian parliament building in December 2002.
Saeed has denied any involvement with Lashkar, Pakistan’s intelligence service, and al Qaeda in an interview published over the weekend. “They [the Indians] can say anything. I am not bothered about what they say,” Saeed said in an interview published at Middle East Transparent. “I will keep spreading the message of Allah Almighty despite all pressures, knowing fully well that the Indians will continue to mislead the world community by linking us with Lashkar-e-Taiba, with the ISI and even with al Qaeda.”
India has directly implicated Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil, a senior Lashkar operative, in directing the operation that killed more than 180 Indians in the financial capital of Mumbai. The operation was conducted by Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives trained inside Pakistan and launched from the Pakistani city of Karachi. The city of Mumbai was held captive for 62 hours.
Calls made from satellite phone on one of the boats used to transport the Mumbai assault teams has phone calls that have been directly traced to attack had calls to Lakhvi in Muzaffarabad. Indian police have also monitored calls between Yusuf Muzammil, a senior Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander, and an operative named Yahya based out of Bangladesh. Yahya provided the Mumbai terrorists with fake identification and telephone SIM cards.
India has also demanded Pakistan turn over Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Maulana Masood Azhar, and mafia and terror kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, as well as other senior leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, and Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami. These terror groups receive backing from elements within Pakistan’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
The Pakistani government has refused to hand over Saeed, Azhar, and Ibrahim, according to reports. Pakistan has insisted the Indians provide evidence of their involvement in the Mumbai attacks so they could be put on trial in Pakistan.