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7/1/03 - PAKISTAN STRIKES AT TERRORISM - 2003-07-01


Police in Pakistan have arrested five members, including a regional leader, of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist group. A police spokesman said the terrorists had a list of prominent Pakistani Shia Muslims marked for assassination.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a terrorist offshoot of the Sunni Muslim extremist group, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi targets Christians and Shia Muslims. It has been linked to al-Qaida and the ousted Taleban regime in Afghanistan. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorists attempted to assassinate the former prime minister of Punjab province and his brother in January 1999. The group has bombed buses and Christian churches, killed Pakistani police officers, and is linked to the murder of several U.S. citizens, including Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in January 2002. The arrests are further evidence of Pakistan's resolve to fight terrorism, as President George W. Bush pointed out:

"Both the United States and Pakistan are threatened by global terror, and we're determined to defeat it. Since [the] September 11th [2001] attacks, Pakistan has apprehended more than five-hundred al-Qaida and Taleban terrorists."

President Pervez Musharraf said Pakistan will not be a haven for al-Qaida or other terrorist groups:

"We abhor terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There is no cause that can be justified or promoted through terrorist acts. And Pakistan is moving against terrorism in its own national interest."

In that effort, Pakistan has the full cooperation and support of the U.S. As President Bush said, "slowly but surely, we're dismantling the [terrorist] networks. And we'll continue on the hunt -- it doesn't matter how long it takes."

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