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Pakistan arrests leader tied to Dec. 13 attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani authorities Sunday arrested Mohammed Saeed, the leader of one of two groups India accuses of spearheading a deadly attack on its national parliament, Pakistani government sources said.

New Delhi accused Lashkar e-Tayyiba, the organization headed by Saeed, and Jaish-e-Mohammed, a group led by Maulana Azhar Massood, for backing and carrying out an armed ambush December 13 that left 14 people dead, including five attackers. Pakistan arrested Massood last Tuesday, the same day it froze both organizations' assets.

Tensions between Pakistan and India, both nuclear powers and long-time rivals, have escalated since the attack, with both sides trading heated rhetoric and ordering mass military mobilizations to the disputed Himalayan border region of Kashmir.

India blames Pakistan for harboring and supporting the organizations that carried out the ambush on parliament, as well as other strikes on Indian interests in recent years.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell declared Lashkar e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed "terrorist organizations," freezing their U.S. assets and denying visas to their representatives. Lashkar e-Tayyiba responded a day later, accusing Washington of attacking Islam, vowing to continue its jihad and insisting India provide evidence to support its allegations.

Saeed was arrested Sunday for making inflammatory speeches and inciting people to violence, according to Pakistani government sources.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee got support Sunday from India's major political parties for his firm stand over Pakistan. The government has ordered military movements intended to pressure Pakistan to crack down on militant anti-Indian interests based in Kashmir.

An executive committee of the Hindu-national BJP party, which Vajpayee heads, issued a resolution Sunday. It said India "should be ready for any eventuality" -- including war -- if Pakistan does not take stronger action against Islamic militants.

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Sunday repeated calls for dialogue with India, but said, "We are prepared for the worst."

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir.



 
 
 
 


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