Pressure Mounts For Pakistan To Act After Mumbai India and the U.S. are pointing to Pakistan in assigning blame for the Mumbai attacks. India says the 10 attackers came from Pakistan. Islamabad has responded by raiding compounds belonging to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and targeting an Islamic charity linked to extremists.
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Pressure Mounts For Pakistan To Act After Mumbai

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Pressure Mounts For Pakistan To Act After Mumbai

Pressure Mounts For Pakistan To Act After Mumbai

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Now to Pakistan, authorities are targeting an Islamic charity connected to the militant group believed to have carried out the attacks in Mumbai. The Indian government says the 10 suspected attackers came from Pakistan. The U.S. and the U.N. have been pressuring Pakistan to crack down on militants. As NPR's Jackie Northam reports, the Pakistani government has taken some steps to satisfy those demands.

JACKIE NORTHAM: The Mumbai attacks, while a horrific shock for India, have also had a profound impact in Pakistan. The country's new and weak civilian government is being pushed hard by India and the U.S. to round up militants believed to be behind the attacks and close down their camps. Shuja Nawaz is the author of the book "Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the War Within." Nawaz says the country needs to rein in its militant groups, something governments here in Pakistan have tried to do without success. Nawaz says India needs to look inwards as well, and that Pakistan is wrongly bearing the brunt of the blame for the Mumbai attacks.

Mr. SHUJA NAWAZ (Author, "Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within"): It's being made to be made responsible for taking actions, and I think actions by Pakistan alone are not going to solve this problem. It still remains an Indian problem, too.

NORTHAM: Nonetheless, Pakistan has responded to India and U.S. pressure to take action. Earlier this week, the army raided compounds belonging to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. They arrested more than 20 suspected members, including two of the group's senior leaders. Then security forces went after Jama'at-ud-Da'wa, the Islamic charity which the U.S. says is merely a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba. On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council designated the charity a terror organization. Pakistan closed several offices of Jama'at-ud-Da'wa and froze its assets. Its virulently anti-India leader, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, denounced the raids during a press conference from the charity's headquarters in Lahore.

Mr. HAFIZ MOHAMMED SAEED (Leader, Jama'at-ud-Da'wa): (Through Translator) If there is any evidence against Jama'at-ud-Da'wa either from India or the U.S.A., we are ready to face any court.

NORTHAM: Shortly after his news conference, Saeed was put under house arrest for at least three months; no charges have been leveled against him. There is concern both in New Delhi and Washington that Pakistan might follow a familiar pattern - hold suspected militants for several months, and then quietly let them go. For its part, the Pakistani government says it's still waiting for proof, any information from India to back up its allegations. Masood Sharif Khattak, the former chief of the intelligence bureau, says unsubstantiated accusations, puts a strain on Pakistan.

Mr. MASOOD SHARIF KHATTAK (Former Intelligence Bureau Chief): Just saying that so-and-so is involved, is not good enough when it comes to matters of state. If you have anything solid, they should have presented it.

NORTHAM: Even though it was the U.N., and not just India and U.S. that wanted Jama'at-ud-Da'wa closed down, Pakistan's government still runs the risk of a backlash by going after an Islamic charity that operates hundreds of schools and medical centers across the country. Author and analyst Zahid Hussein says the fragile Pakistani government can only do so much so fast to stamp out Islamist militant groups.

Mr. ZAHID HUSSEIN (Author and Analyst): If you put Pakistan too much in the corner, then obviously it will be counterproductive. And any destabilization of Pakistan will unravel the whole area. The international community should understand that if the Pakistani state collapses, then who is going to benefit from that? Obviously the extremists.

NORTHAM: Hussein says the Security Council's decision gives the Pakistani government the political cover it needs to close the charity's offices and arrest suspected militants. But Pakistan is firm that it will not hand over any suspects to India. Author Shuja Nawaz says that could be the tipping point for Pakistan.

Mr. NAWAZ: The one thing in any India-Pakistan exchange is the optics. You have to not be seen as capitulating.

NORTHAM: Still, the pressure on Pakistan is increasing. In the past few days, India has doubled the number of suspects it wants arrested and it has increased its rhetoric, calling Pakistan the epicenter of terrorism. Jackie Northam, NPR News, Islamabad.

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