Son of Masood Azhar among 44 arrested

Son of Masood Azhar among 44 arrested

"It was made a decision to speed up action against all proscribed organizations".

Pakistan said the arrests were not a result of any external pressure, though Indian officials have reacted with scepticism.

Addressing a press conference, Pakistan Interior minister Shaharyar Afridi announced the news. "In compliance, 44 under-observation members of proscribed organisations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar, have been taken in preventive detention for investigation", it said.

As The Hindu had reported last week, the government has already shared its dossier on the JeM and its link to the Pulwama attack with the Pakistan government, and with other countries at the U.N. In the copy of the UNSC listing filed by France, U.K. and US, which was exclusively accessed in this paper, Azhar has been named for "financially supporting" JeM, for recruiting jihadi volunteers for Afghanistan to fight "western forces", and for the Pulwama attack on February 14th that killed 40 Indian police officers, which the JeM has claimed responsibility for.

According to the reports received from Pakistan, the action against JeM came in order to implement the National Action Plan of Pakistan, amid mounting pressure from the global community on Islamabad to rein in the terror groups operating from its soil.

A day earlier, the head of the military's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor had said, Pakistan received a dossier from India and it is being investigated by the relevant ministry. A pilot of the Indian Air Force, identified as Abhinandan, was also taken into custody.

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The government of India does not believe Pakistan's claims that it is cracking down on terrorist organisations that have their bases in that country. Interestingly, this statement comes days after Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi admitted that the terror outfit's chief Maulana Masood Azhar is present in the country.

Officials said 44 suspected militants are in "preventative detention". "We are taking the action under our responsibility", he said.

Pakistan's foreign ministry announced a new order on Monday to update existing laws that deal with those on United Nations sanctions lists.

The FATF in June past year placed Pakistan onto its watch list in a bid to push the country to halt support for militant groups.

The successful implementation of the action plan and its physical verification by the APG will lead the FATF to clear Pakistan out of its grey list or else move into the black list by September 2019.

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