Pakistan is continuing to freeze assets and close down offices of a
prominent Islamic charity accused of links with the Mumbai terrorist
plot. During the carefully-orchestrated crackdown, Pakistani
authorities insist India is still not sharing any evidence.
Pakistani authorities began
shutting down offices and freezing assets of the Jamaat ud Dawa group
on Thursday, but in a sign of the government's concern over reaction to
the crackdown, officials did not formally announce the ban until
several hours before dawn Friday in a live address on state television.
In a brief statement, Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi said
Pakistan has complied with the requests by the U.N. sanctions committee
to take action against certain groups.
"However, our own
investigations cannot proceed beyond a certain point without provision
of credible information and evidence pertaining to Mumbai attacks," he
said. "Despite our requests, no evidence or information has been shared
with the government by India so far."
With offices in all
major Pakistani cities and thousands of supporters, volunteers and
students in Jamaat ud Dawa schools, Pakistani politicians have been
careful in moving against the group.
placed Jamaat ud Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed under house arrest late
Thursday, after allowing him to give a live televised news conference
in which he rejected allegations his group is a front for the Lashkar e
Taiba militant group blamed in the Mumbai attacks. Since then, at least
10 other leaders of the charity have been placed under house arrest.
television on Friday broadcast images of police locking offices of the
charity across the country. The interior ministry says more than 60
offices have been closed so far.
In the northeastern city
Muzzafarabad in Pakistani Kashmir, about 500 people demonstrated in
front of a United Nations compound denouncing the ban on Jamaat ud
They group chanted down with India, down with Hindus.
Pakistan's Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar was asked by reporters why
Jamaat ud Dawa has been banned when Pakistani officials themselves
insist India has offered no evidence of its involvement in the Mumbai
He said if Pakistan did not react to the Security
Council resolution then the United Nations would declare the country a
terrorist state and cripple the economy. He said Pakistan can fight its
own enemies but not the whole world.
Indian officials have
responded to Pakistan's actions by saying the country must do much more
against militant groups. India's prime minister Thursday called
Pakistan "the epicenter of terrorism" and said the international
community must deal with the problem.
Top U.S. officials have
been shuttling between the two countries to try to defuse tensions. In
just the past week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Deputy
Secretary of State John Negroponte and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff Mike Mullen have visited both Islamabad and New Delhi.