Pakistan detains JeM chief`s son, brother
Published: 11:51 AM, 6 March 2019
Masood Azhar, chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)
Pakistan detained 44 suspected militants, including the brother and son of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, following the attack in Indian-administered Kashmir which sparked a crisis with India.
Pakistan Minister of state for interior Shehryar Afidi and interior secretary Azam Suleman Khan announced the detentions at a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, saying the move was aimed at securing Pakistan’s future.
The action came almost three weeks after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 Indian troopers were killed. JeM claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.
Pakistan has been under international pressure to crack down on militant networks since the suicide bombing. It triggered a crisis with India that threatened to escalate into military conflict, and Delhi said it had carried out air strikes on a JeM training camp in response.
However, Pakistan said the arrests were not a result of any external pressure, though Indian officials have reacted with skepticism.
Addressing the militant detentions, Azam Suleman Khan said that if investigators find "evidence against them, they will be proceeded against," and if not they will be set free.
JeM is designated a terror organisation by India and the UN, as well as the UK and the US.
At least some of those held are thought to be named in an Indian dossier handed to the Pakistani authorities investigating last month's Pulwama suicide attack.
In the past, some militants have faced legal action in Pakistan, before later being released.
India accuses Pakistan of allowing militant groups to operate on its territory and says Pakistani security agencies played a role in the attack, which was claimed by JeM and killed 40 Indian troops.
Pakistan denies any role and has said it does not provide safe haven to militants.
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