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Pakistan agrees to act in 48 hours: Washington Post

Islamabad to formulate plan to act against Lashkar-e-Taiba

Zardari expected to review plans

India has “clear and incontrovertible proof’

Washington: Pakistan has agreed to a 48-hour timetable set by India and the United States to formulate a plan to act against the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and to arrest at least three Pakistanis who, Indian authorities say, are linked to the Mumbai terrorist assaults, the Washington Post reported citing a high-ranking Pakistani official.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said India had also asked Pakistan to arrest and hand over LeT commander Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhwi and the former director of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Hamid Gul, in connection with the investigation, the Post said Saturday.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who has expressed his country’s solidarity with India, is expected to review plans by his nation’s top military and intelligence officials and follow through on India’s demands, the official was quoted as saying.

“The next 48 hours are critical,” the Pakistani official added.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the daily said, had urged Pakistan to hand over Yusuf Muzammil, an LeT leader whom Indian and U.S. investigators have identified as the mastermind behind the attacks, and other suspects.

The Post cited an unnamed high-level source in the Indian government as saying India had “clear and incontrovertible proof” that the Pakistan-based LeT planned the attacks and that the group’s leaders were trained and supported by the ISI.

“We have the names of the handlers. And we know that there is a close relationship between the Lashkar and the ISI,” the source told the Post.

More cautious

U.S. intelligence officials, however, were more cautious in their interpretation of the evidence, the daily said.

Although U.S. analysts acknowledged historical ties between the Lashkar and the ISI as well as more recent contacts between militants and Pakistani intelligence officers, they said they were not convinced that Pakistan supported the attacks in any significant way. — IANS