Dec 9, 2008

World - Pak imposes restrictions on Masood Azhar: report

Islamabad (PTI): Pakistani authorities have reportedly imposed restrictions on the movement of Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar and confined him to his home despite turning down India's demand for handing him over.

Azhar, who was freed by Indian authorities along with two other terrorists in exchange for passengers of an Indian Airlines flight hijacked from Kathmandu to Kandahar in 1999, has been confined to his multi-storey building in Model Town area of Bahawalpur, The News daily reported today.

The report quoted official sources as saying that Azhar's activities had been restricted in the wake of India's demand to hand him over along with criminals Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon.

There was no official word on whether Azhar had been restricted to his home. The Pakistan Army on Monday confirmed it had launched an operation against banned militant groups.

Lashker-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi is among over 20 militants arrested during the crackdown, sources said.

The Pakistan government yesterday turned down India's demand to hand over Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. The demand had been made in a demarche handed over by India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Azhar's movements have been restricted in the past too when India had demanded his handing over. There have been reports in recent months that Azhar and the Jaish had stepped up activities, including the raising of funds and organising large rallies, in the Bahawalpur area.

The militant leader was being held in an Indian jail when he was released by the Indian government in exchange for passengers of the airplane hijacked by several Pakistani terrorists and taken to Kandahar.

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