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India, Pak soften stance after JuD crackdown


Parrull,CNN-IBN
Jan 16, 2009 at 11:27am IST

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New Delhi: After weeks of denial, Islamabad for the first time on Thursday said that it has detained 124 people linked to the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and set up a three-member team of its Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe Mumbai terror attack.

"We have arrested a total of 124 people belonging to banned groups and are committed to working with India on the war on terror," Pakistan's Interior Ministry Chief, Rehman Malik, said.

“This is the time to show solidarity with India,” he added.

Malik promised crackdown against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa will continue.

“We have closed 20 offices, two libraries, 87 schools, seven madrasas and five camps in Punjab and azad Kashmir,” Malik said.

However, an unimpressed Indian Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee said Pakistan must react through diplomatic channels, rather than the media.

“Instead of being informed through the media, I would be happy to receive a direct response from Pakistan through existing diplomatic channels, and to see Pakistan was implementing her words,” he said

Weeks of high level international visits seem to have succeeded in extending India’s patience.

Pranab Mukherjee in an interview signalled a shift in Delhi’s stance, saying if Pakistan did not extradite the Mumbai terror suspects, it could try and convict them in their courts — a line taken from visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

But doubts remain on what Pakistan will really do on the ground.

The UN-banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa is already seen to be operating under a different name — Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awal.

Many say the current scaling down of rhetoric on both sides is more of a pause in hostilities than a real turnaround in the Indo-Pak relationship.

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