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Over 60 JuD leaders detained: Pakistan

December 19, 2008 23:06 IST

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Pakistani authorities have detained more than 60 leaders of the outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawah though no evidence linking them to the Mumbai attacks has been found so far, the interior ministry said on Friday.

Intelligence and security agencies have detained the Jamaat leaders, including its chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, as part of the ongoing crackdown on the group designated as a terrorist outfit by the United Nations Security Council.

However, nothing incriminating or substantial has been found in the investigation, interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said.

India has not provided any evidence to Pakistan about the Mumbai attacks despite being asked to do so, Malik told Dawn News channel.

An interior ministry spokesman earlier said 22 Jamaat leaders have been barred from travelling outside Pakistan.

Malik also said Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar is at large. Azhar had been untraceable even before the Pakistan People's Party-led government came to power in March. If he is traced, he will be taken into custody, Malik added.

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar earlier said that the detained Jamaat leaders, including Saeed, cannot be tried in Pakistani courts in the absence of evidence against them.

He said the leaders had been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance, which allows a person to be held for up to 90 days.

India has blamed the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] and other Pakistan-based elements for the attacks in its financial hub that killed over 180 people last month. India also blames the outfit and the Jaish-e-Mohammad for an attack on its parliament in 2001.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a TV channel on Wednesday that Masood Azhar was in custody but retracted his statement less than two hours later.

The Foreign Office later clarified that Qureshi had said that Azhar "is wanted by the law enforcement authorities of Pakistan and is at large".

Indian officials have said they now plan to wait and watch the action taken by Pakistani authorities.

India's response to various proposals made by Pakistan with regard to the Mumbai attacks, including an offer of a joint investigation, will depend on the steps taken by Islamabad [Images] to address New Delhi's [Images] concerns, the officials said.

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