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44 members of proscribed outfits including Jaish chief Massod Azhar’s brother taken into preventive custody by Pakistan

Pakistan on Tuesday took 44 members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the former believed to be the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar and the latter his son —  in preventive detention for investigation, reported the Dawn. 

According to the officials of the Interior Ministry of Pakistan, “In order to implement National Action Plan (NAP), a high-level meeting was held in the Ministry of Interior on March 4, attended by all representatives of all provincial governments,” said a statement by the ministry. “These actions will continue, as per the decisions taken in National Security Committee (NSC) while reviewing NAP.”

According to the report, the same was confirmed by Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi and Ministry of Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan at a press conference on Tuesday.

“This is across the board — we don’t want to give the impression that we are against one organisation,” said Khan.

He acknowledged that some people who have been detained are named in the dossier handed by India to Pakistan on the Pulwama attack. “It does not mean that action is being taken against only those individuals who are mentioned in the dossier.”

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“This is Pakistan’s decision […] the action will continue for two weeks. Every single detail will be shared with all stakeholders,” the report quoted Afridi as saying.

Masood Azhar, the chief of JeM, is in Pakistan, said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an interview last week. Both Raoof and Hamad Azhar are said to be related to him.

The tensions between the two countries have escalated following the Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir, which killed 49 CRPF personnel and which was claimed by militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Following the attack, the Foreign Secretary of India had said on Tuesday that they have ‘struck the biggest camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot in the pre-dawn ‘preemptive strikes across the Line of Control’.

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“India struck the biggest camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot and a large number of terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis planning terror strikes were eliminated,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said.

Gokhale had added that India’s “non-military preemptive action” was specifically targeted at the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp.

“Credible intelligence was received that Jaish-e-Mohammed was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country and Fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose,” he had said.

“India has given proof many times seeking action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and others at terror camps so big, that they can train hundreds of jihadis and terrorists at any given time. But due to Pakistan’s inaction, this step was necessary and had to be taken,” he had said.

Earlier, India has said that they carried out a pre-dawn strike on a ‘militant camp’ across the Line of Control soon after Pakistan army said that Indian fighter jets were forced to leave after they crossed the LoC in Muzaffarabad sector.

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According to reports, the strike was carried out at around 3:30 Tuesday morning by 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets. The aircraft dropped, according to reports, ‘1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on a major militant camp across the Line of Control, completely destroying it’, news agency ANI reported, quoting Air Force sources.

Earlier, Pakistan Army claimed that the Indian military planes “intruded” from the Muzaffarabad sector but were forced to go back after Pakistan Air Force “immediately scrambled”.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan during a joint Parliament session on Thursday said that as a gesture of peace, they would return captured Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan to India.

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He further stated that he was ready for talks with India and de-escalate tensions between both countries.

During the session, he said that the reason of escalation between India and Pakistan was the Kashmir dispute.

“All of this is because of Kashmir,” PM Khan said while addressing a joint session of parliament.

“I want to ask the Indian public about all that has happened over the past 4 years. There is an indigenous movement in Kashmir. At one point, Kashmiri leaders had not wanted separation, but because of Indian brutality, today all they demand is independence.”

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