India summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner today to demand “strong action” against the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group presently being blamed for last week’s Mumbai attacks. Among other things, they demanded the Pakistani government extradite LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and high profile organized crime leader Dawood Ibrahim.
Besides having brought Indo-Pakistani relations to their worst levels in several years and causing a military build-up along the border, the attack has brought renewed scrutiny to Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
The United States has long demanded the Pakistani government curb the ISI’s powers, claiming to have direct evidence that they played a role in the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, and will likely renew those calls after suggestions they may have had some hand in last week’s attacks.
Whether Pakistan’s civilian government can do anything about the ISI is quite another matter, however. They attempted in late July to bring the largely independent agency under the control of the Interior Ministry, a move which lasted less than 24 hours before pressure forced them to back off the demand. At this point the government is grateful enough that the ISI is no longer directly meddling in domestic political affairs, and seems unlikely to rock the boat based on what seems so far to be pretty unproven allegations.
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