- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2001

Pakistan, in a bid to defuse the escalating crisis with India, said yesterday it had arrested the leader of a militant group accused by New Delhi of carrying out an attack on its Parliament, but India kept up pressure on Islamabad, equating its actions with the U.S. ultimatum to the Taliban after September 11.
Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, also said India's military buildup and Islamabad's need to respond to it are tying his hands in dealing with the real problem of terrorism in his country.
But India, dismissing recent steps Pakistan has taken to freeze assets of terrorist organizations and arrest their leaders as "too little, too late," yesterday said it is in the same position the United States was in after the attacks in New York and on the Pentagon.
"We did exactly what President Bush did when he gave notice to the Taliban, saying they should hand over the al Qaeda, close down the terrorist networks or face the consequences," India's ambassador to Washington, Lalit Mansingh, said on "Fox News Sunday."
"Just as the United States put its forces on alert after the attack on September 11, our forces went on alert after the ghastly attack on the Parliament," he said.
The Dec. 13 attack, which killed nine persons, was "one of the most dramatic events for us in our entire history," he said. New Delhi has demanded that Gen. Musharraf's government "shut down" at least three groups India says organized the attack: Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.
Asked whether India would take unilateral action against these terrorist organizations if Pakistan doesn't crack down on them, Mr. Mansingh responded: "We have said that we have all the options before us. We are right now trying the diplomatic option. Hopefully, this will succeed."
Although he insisted that "it's not our intention to start a war," the ambassador said, "We do expect further attacks, and we are not going to sit back and wait for them."
Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, was arrested yesterday, a top Pakistani security official said.
"He has been arrested for making inflammatory speeches to incite people to violate law and order," the official was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying.
Gen. Musharraf's government, which denies involvement in the attack on the Indian Parliament, had already arrested Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the other group India accuses of being behind the terrorist act.
Last week, the United States added both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed to its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The Bush administration also has been trying to mediate a solution to the crisis, which Washington fears may hurt its anti-terrorism effort.
Both India and Pakistan last week put missiles on alert and prepared for a war they say they don't want. They also traded sanctions, halving their embassy staff and banning aircraft from the other country from flying over their airspace.
Mr. Bush urged Gen. Musharraf on Saturday to take new steps to rein in "extremists," while assuring Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee that the United States would cooperate with India in its fight against terrorism.
A week ago, Pakistan froze the bank accounts of Lashkar-e-Taiba and another militant organization, Umma Tameer-e-Nau, which the United States has accused of passing nuclear arms data to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
Yesterday, Pakistan's central bank said it had frozen the personal bank accounts of two nuclear scientists and an industrialist suspected of having links with bin Laden.
A spokesman for the State Bank of Pakistan said the accounts of scientists Bashiruddin Mahmood and Abdul Majeed and industrialist Mohammed Tufail had been frozen. All three were on the board of Umma Tameer-e-Nau.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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