Pakistan has arrested two leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group considered the prime suspect behind the Mumbai attacks, the country’s prime minister confirmed Wednesday.
The two men are senior members of the banned Islamist group and have both been named by Indian media as key planners of the devastating attack on Mumbai in which 172 people died.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah were in detention and an investigation was under way, Yousuf Raza Gilani told journalists.
Indian newspapers say the sole surviving gunman identified Lakhvi as the man who put together the team of attackers, while investigators suspect Shah arranged SIM cards and satellite phones used in the siege on India’s financial capital.
Under intense international pressure, Pakistan launched a major operation over the weekend against militant organisations in the country, raiding a camp in Kashmir run by a charity linked to LeT and arresting 15 people.
It was not clear if Lakhvi and Shah were among those arrested in the raid.
Some of the 15 men are reported to be on a list of people that India last week requested Pakistan extradite in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
But Gilani denied that Pakistan was responding to pressure from India.
"Whatever action we take will be in the interest of the country and its people," he told reporters. "If Indian intelligence send us their findings we will investigate accordingly."
Indian press reported on Wednesday that the surviving gunman has told how Lakhvi selected and trained the 10 attackers, who set out from Karachi after scouting their targets on the Internet using mapping site Google Earth.
Each of the men was given eight grenades, an AK-47 assault rifle, 200 cartridges and a mobile phone, he was quoted as saying.
Pakistan has said it does not want war with India over the Mumbai siege, but was "fully prepared in case war is imposed on us".
Islamabad’s foreign minister has also insisted arrested suspects would be tried in Pakistan rather than handed over to India.