Thursday, 29 January, 2009

Pakistan says 'three Indian spies' arrested

29 Jan 2009 (AFP)
LAHORE: Pakistani police said on Thursday three Pakistani men had been arrested on suspicion of spying for India since 2005 and being involved in two bombings in 2006.

The police chief in Lahore, Pervaiz Rathor, said the three Pakistanis were recruited, trained and paid huge sums by India's foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Pakistani police said the alleged spies were arrested a few days ago and were residents of a village close to the border. "They are Pakistani nationals, they were spying for Indian intelligence," Rathor said.

He named the suspects as Mohammed Fayyaz, Mohammed Ikram -- both Muslims -- and Shahzad Bhatti -- a Christian.

"They were working for RAW and were spying for them since 2005. They were also involved in a bomb blast in Lahore in 2006, in which 16 people were injured and two killed," Rathor said.

They were operating in Pakistan's central Punjab province and are wanted for a second, minor blast in a southern district in 2006, he added.

"They were paid by RAW to carry out acts of violence in Pakistan and also supply information about important personalities in Pakistan. They also took pictures and made videos of government installations," Rathor said.

He accused the suspects of carrying out reconnaissance missions at offices of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat ud-Dawa, a group widely seen as the political wing of the banned LeT.

Rathor said the suspects were petty cross-border smugglers when they were recruited by RAW and trained by Indian intelligence in explosives handling.

One trip into India, carrying pictures and intelligence, would earn them 700,000 rupees (9,000 dollars) from their handlers, he charged.

Tensions have soared between the two countries since terrorists killed 180 people in India's financial capital Mumbai in late November.

India has blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for training, equipping and financing the terrorists.

Pakistan government investigators will submit a preliminary report on the suspects in the Mumbai attacks by the end of January. Pakistan has said India provided some information on January 5 but no evidence and has ruled out handing any suspects to India.

The Indian goverment has said that given the level of sophistication of the attacks, the group must have had support from some "official agencies" in Pakistan -- a charge Islamabad has rejected.

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