ISLAMABAD, March 5 - Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar�s son and brother were among 44 members of the banned militant outfit arrested by authorities in Pakistan on Tuesday, amid mounting pressure from the global community on Islamabad to rein in the terror groups operating on its soil.
�We have taken 44 people in custody as part of crackdown on militant groups,� Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi said at a press conference here.
Ministry of Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan said Hammad Azhar and Mufti Abdur Rauf were among those arrested on Tuesday. Hammad is the son of Masood Azhar while Rauf is his brother.
Khan said a dossier shared by India with Pakistan last week also contained names of Rauf and Hammad.
�It does not mean that action is being taken against only those individuals who are mentioned in the dossier,� he added.
The crackdown came amid tensions with India following a suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir�s Pulwama district on February 14 by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
India last week handed over the dossier to Pakistan to take action against the JeM, as pressure mounted on Islamabad to take action against individual and organisation listed by the UN Security Council as terrorists.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi last week admitted that the JeM chief is in Pakistan and is �very unwell�, but said the government can act against him only if India presents �solid� and �inalienable� evidence that can stand in a court of law.
�He is in Pakistan, according to my information. He is unwell to the extent that he can�t leave his house, because he�s really unwell,� Qureshi told CNN in an interview.
Afridi, however, said the action was not taken due to any pressure. �This is our own initiative... We won�t allow the use of our soil against any country,� he said.
Interior Secretary Khan said the action would be taken against all the proscribed organisations under the National Action Plan, which was formulated after an attack on an army school in Peshawar in 2014 that killed nearly 150 people, mostly children.
�This is across the board - we don�t want to give the impression that we are against one organisation,� he said.
He said the crackdown will continue for two weeks and actions against the arrested members will be taken on the basis of evidence.
Responding to a question, Khan said Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation would be banned within 24 hours. � PTI