India releases details of nine dead Mumbai gunmen

December 10, 2008 - 0:0

DELHI (The Guardian) -- Police in Mumbai Tuesday released the identities and home addresses in Pakistan of the nine dead gunmen who allegedly attacked India's financial centre last month -- in a move apparently intended to increase the pressure on the Pakistani government.

The news comes as Pakistani ministers offered Indian officials the chance to interview those detained in Sunday's raids on militant camps as part of a “joint investigation”.
In custody are two Islamist leaders -- Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi, blamed for the attack on Mumbai last month, and the head of Jaish-e- Mohammad, Masood Azhar, who is accused of masterminding a strike on the Indian parliament in 2001.
Pakistan's defense minister, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, took to the airwaves in India saying that officials from Delhi may be allowed to interrogate both suspects.
“Lakhwi was picked up ... Azhar has also been picked up. We will help India in joint investigations ... India may be allowed to interrogate these people also,” he said.
Delhi has spurned previous offers from Pakistan for a “joint investigation”, saying it wants Islamabad to hand over fugitives from Indian law who are accused of being behind terror strikes in India.
In a move designed to keep the pressure on Islamabad, police in India say they have pieced together more details of the nine dead militants, saying they were young Pakistani men between the age of 20 and 28.
Two of the men were from Okara district, three from Multan, two from Faisalabad and one was from Sialkot. Only one gunmen survived, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman, who remains in custody.
The leader of the group is said to have been Ismail Khan, whose home is in Dera Ismail Khan -- a town in the lawless area near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rakesh Maria, joint commissioner of Mumbai police, told journalists that his expertise with GPS marked him out.
“This was not his first operation for the Lashkar,” he said, referring to the armed Islamist group blamed by India for the Mumbai terror attack. India says that for years it was Pakistani policy to use guerrilla groups such as Lashkar as proxies in the conflict over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
Indian ministers were quick to point out that President Asif Ali Zardari's crackdown on militant groups operating in its half of Kashmir -- a first by Pakistan -- was “something that need to be done in Pakistan's own interests”.
Official sources say that Pakistan's detention of two “terrorists” was “just a first step”. The sources pointed out that Azhar has been detained by Pakistan at least twice in the past, but released after “a few months”.
In an article for the New York Times, Zardari used strong language to commit himself to an anti-terror strategy. He wrote that as “demonstrated in Sunday's raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers”.