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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 18:34 GMT
India hands Pakistan 'wanted' list
Pakistani protesters burn the Indian flag in Karachi
Tension between the two nuclear powers is growing
Indian officials say they have given Pakistan a list of 20 suspected terrorists they want handed over for questioning.

The move follows the arrest by Pakistan of the former leader of a militant Islamic group India holds partly responsible for the attack on its parliament on 13 December.

Indian children on the last train for Delhi from Lahore
Many civilians are fleeing as the threat of war grows
The BBC's Jill McGivering, in Delhi, says that although India has welcomed the arrest, there is little sign of any easing in the current tension between the two nuclear powers.

Troops massing along the line of control in the disputed region of Kashmir have already exchanged fire. Two Indian soldiers have been killed and six wounded.

No deadline was given for the handing-over of the suspects on India's list, but an Indian foreign ministry spokeswoman said they expected action "as soon as possible".

As the two countries teetered on the brink of war, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said the arrest of Hafiz Mohammed Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Toiba group was "a step in the right direction" but more action was needed.

Softening rhetoric

The minister also suggested there was a possibility that the leaders of the two countries could meet at a regional summit in Nepal next week.

India holds Lashkar-e-Toiba responsible - with others - for the bomb attack on its parliament and blames Pakistan for harbouring and training militants.

The BBC's Jonathan Head, who is in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, says the latest moves mark a slight softening in the bellicose rhetoric between the two nations - but tension is still dangerously high.


Many in India are sceptical about Pakistan's sincerity in curbing the activities of militant groups and they demand radical action, including the closure of militant training camps and the banning of militant organisations.

In another incident, there were scuffles when police broke up a peace protest on the Pakistan-India border crossing at Wagah, the BBC's Rachel Wright reports.

Hundreds of candle-carrying demonstrators had gathered on the Pakistani side of the border just outside Lahore where the last flag-lowering ceremony was taking place before the two countries officially severed links.

Also on Monday, the only rail link between India and Pakistan was shut down.

'Inciting unrest'

But police feared the protesters would spoil the ceremony and took the female organiser of the march away.

Islamabad has been under increasing pressure from US President George W Bush to take action against Kashmiri Islamic militants.

An official in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, said that Mr Saeed had been arrested for inciting public unrest.

Indian soldier surveys bodies of militants in Durapora
India is determined to crush Islamic militants
He was the head of Lashkar-e-Toiba - which is fighting Indian rule in Kashmir - until he stepped down last week saying he didn't want India to have "malicious propaganda" to use against Pakistan.

The group had its assets frozen last week.

Maulana Masood Azhar, leader of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, was put under house arrest last week.

Pakistan says at least 50 people from militant groups have been arrested and police announced on Monday that another group had been held after raids in the southern city of Karachi.

The Indian Government says all political parties have offered their support if India goes to war against Pakistan.

But Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says he is confident that diplomatic pressure will resolve the crisis.

Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf has said his country wants peace with India, but is ready for war if forced into it.

The neighbours have fought three wars since 1947 - two of them over Kashmir - and came close to a fourth in 1999.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jonathan Charles
"The frontier between the two countries is closed"
See also:

31 Dec 01 | South Asia
In pictures: The last train
30 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Blair urges India-Pakistan restraint
28 Dec 01 | Media reports
Press urges calm as tensions rise
28 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistanis 'could be stuck in India'
28 Dec 01 | South Asia
India-Pakistan buses close down
26 Dec 01 | South Asia
US adds pressure on Pakistan
24 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan freezes militant funds
29 Dec 01 | South Asia
Taj Mahal 'to be camouflaged'
31 Dec 01 | South Asia
India hands over 'most wanted' list
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