01/15/2016, 00.00
PAKISTAN – INDIA

Pakistan raid against fundamentalist madrassas nets scores of arrests

Pakistani forces go after the militant Jaish-e-Mohammad group, blamed for an attack against an Indian Air Force base. The group’s founder is among those detained. Peace talks with Delhi were the its target.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistan has shut down several madrassas (religious schools) run by Jaish-e-Mohammad, a militant Islamist group, and arrested 14 people, including its founder, Maulana Masood Azhar.

The group is accused, among other things, of carrying out an attack against India’s Pathankot Air Force Station that left 13 people dead, following a recent meeting between Indian and Pakistani leaders.

The police raid targeted a mosque and seminary near the city of Daska, ostensibly where the order was issued to launch the attack with heavily armed gunmen dressed in Indian army uniforms.

The gun battle, which lasted four days, began on 2 January, some days after the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers, Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif, met in Lahore to launch a surprise peace initiative.

Extremists in both countries are not keen on any rapprochement. Islamic and Hindu fundamentalists oppose “normalisation” between the two nations, once part of the pre-independence British Raj.

Responding to the Pakistani action, India yesterday announced that it would re-schedule diplomatic talks with its neighbour, which had been postponed after the Pathankot attack.

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