Pakistan will not hand over to India captured terror suspects believed to be responsible for last month's deadly attacks on Mumbai, Pakistan's foreign minister said Tuesday, insisting the nation will try militants under its own laws.
Pakistan intensified its crackdown on the militant group suspected in the Mumbai attacks by arresting 20 more people Tuesday.
A senior Pakistani security official said troops raided at least five more offices of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan's portion of the disputed region of Kashmir in the past 24 hours.
Security forces were acting on information gleaned from Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, an alleged mastermind of the attacks who was picked up in the same region on Sunday.
"The arrests are being made for our own investigations," said Islamabad's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Sky News. "Even if allegations are proved against any suspect, he will not be handed over to India.
"We will proceed against those arrested under Pakistani laws," Qureshi said.
The official said none of the latest 20 people detained were among those named by India in connection with the Mumbai carnage.
A Lashkar-e-Taiba official confirmed that there had been more raids on their offices, but declined to elaborate.
India has said all 10 gunmen came from Pakistan and handed Islamabad a list of 20 terror suspects, with demands for their arrest and extradition.
The move comes after security forces overran a militant camp on the outskirts of Pakistani Kashmir's main city and reportedly seized the mastermind of the attacks, two officials said Monday.
The raid was Pakistan's first known response to U.S. and Indian demands for the arrest of the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, which have sharply raised tensions between South Asia's two nuclear-armed powers.
Backed by a helicopter, the troops grabbed Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi among at least 12 people taken Sunday in the raid on the riverbank camp run by the banned group Laskhar-e-Taiba in Pakistani Kashmir, the officials said. There was a brief clash in the camp near Muzaffarabad before the militants were subdued, the officials said.
The U.S. State Department, however, could not confirm that Lakhvi was captured.
The officials — one from the intelligence agencies and one from a government agency — spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Indian officials say the sole Mumbai attacker captured alive has told them that Lakhvi recruited him for the mission and that Lakhvi and another militant, Yusuf Muzammil, planned the operation. The three-day siege of India's commercial capital left 171 people dead.
Analysts say Lashkar-e-Taiba was created with the help of Pakistan's intelligence agencies in the 1980s to act as a proxy fighting force in Indian Kashmir.
The United States says the group has links to Al Qaeda. In May, the U.S. Department of the Treasury alleged that Lakhvi directed Laskhar-e-Taiba operations in Chechnya, Bosnia and Southeast Asia. In 2004, he allegedly sent operatives and funds to attack U.S. forces in Iraq, it said.
Sky News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.