Pakistani authorities have detained 44 members of banned organisations, including Masood Azhar’s brother Mufti Abdur Rauf, and son Hamad Azhar, the country’s Interior Ministry claimed in a press conference on Tuesday.
Azhar is the chief of the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, which had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. Forty personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed in the attack.
Shehryar Afridi, the minister of state for the interior, said the government would take action against all proscribed organisations, reported The News. Rauf’s name was among those shared by the Indian government in its dossier to Pakistan, he said.
Afridi said Pakistan did not take the action under any pressure.
“In order to implement National Action Plan, a high-level meeting was held in the Ministry of Interior on March 4, attended by all representatives of all provincial governments,” the ministry said, according to Dawn. “These actions will continue, as per the decisions taken in National Security Committee while reviewing NAP.”
On Monday, Pakistan had enacted a law to streamline the process for the implementation of United Nations sanctions against individuals and organisations amid global pressure to curb the activities and financing provided to terror groups operating on its soil. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said the government issued the United Nations Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019, in accordance with the provisions of Pakistan’s United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Act, 1948.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said the order meant the government had taken over the control of assets and properties of all banned outfits operating in Pakistan, Dawn reported.
Unidentified Indian security officials said that the 44 individuals have only been taken into “preventive detention for investigation”, and not arrested under anti-terrorism laws, PTI reported. The detentions could be an excuse for the Pakistan Army to provide security to the individuals, they added.
Pakistan under pressure
The crackdown claimed by Pakistan came amid heightened tensions with India after the Pulwama suicide attack on February 14. Pakistan is under pressure from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing. Last year, the task force had put the country on its watchlist in an effort to push Pakistan to halt support for terror groups.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had told the BBC that the Jaish-e-Mohammad group had not claimed responsibility for the Pulwama suicide bombing, even though the outfit had issued a press release to this effect.