ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan has arrested more than 100 people in a crackdown on groups allegedly linked to the Mumbai attacks, a top official said Thursday, adding that information India has handed over still needs work before it can be used as evidence in court.
Despite the announcement, Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik dodged a question on whether Pakistan was conceding the plot that killed 164 people in India's commercial capital was hatched on his country's soil.
India says a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, masterminded the November attack. In the days afterward, the U.N. Security Council declared that Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity in Pakistan, was merely a front for the outlawed militant organization.
In a press conference, Malik said 124 people had been arrested, while authorities had taken steps against 20 offices, 87 schools, two libraries, seven religious schools, and a handful of other organizations and Web sites linked to the charity. He also said authorities had shut several relief camps of the charity, some of which have been alleged to be militant training grounds.
It was unclear exactly how many people remained in Pakistani custody, however, and Malik at one point indicated many may simply be under surveillance now.
Among those who are being held, including under house arrest, are Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the head of the charity who helped establish the militant group, which was banned in 2002. Also in custody are Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah, two men India alleges planned the Mumbai attacks.
Malik said Pakistan was trying to act responsibly and went after the charity and those linked to it because of the U.N. declaration.
Malik repeated Pakistani calls for a joint investigation into the attacks, pledging that would "bring quick results." He urged India to hand over more information to assist Pakistan's own probe.
He said India had already handed over some information, but "we have to inquire into this information to try to transform it to evidence, evidence which can stand the test of any court in the world and of course our own court of law."
As other officials have from the start, he appeared to rule out handing over suspects to India, saying Pakistani laws allowed for the prosecution of citizens who committed crimes elsewhere.
"We have to prove to the world that India and Pakistan stand together against terrorists because they are the common enemies," Malik said.