Forty-four members of proscribed organisations were taken into preventive detention in Pakistan on March 5, according to the country’s Ministry of Interior.
A Ministry statement said: “In order to implement National Action Plan (NAP), a high level meeting was held in the Ministry of Interior on 4th March 2019, which was attended by representatives of all Provincial Governments. It was decided to speed up action against all proscribed organizations. In compliance, 44 under-observation members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar, have been taken in preventive detention for investigation. These actions will continue, as per the decisions taken in National Security Committee (NSC), while reviewing National Action Plan.”
A press conference was held by Ministry of Interior Secretary Azam Khan and Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi in Islamabad on March 5.
It appears that two of the 44 arrested are linked to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and are named in the Pulwama dossier handed over to Pakistan by India last week.
Solely Pakistan’s own decision: Minister
Reiterating Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resolve to fight terror, Mr. Afridi said this was solely Pakistan’s own decision. “We will not allow Pakistani soil to be used against any country.”
Azaz Syed, author of The Secret of Pakistan’s War on Al-Qaeda, said the Indian dossiers after the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks were quite powerful and contained some kind of evidence (though challengeable in the court), and that was why cases were lodged in Pakistani courts against those allegedly involved in the attacks.
“However, the Pulwama dossier seems weak and without tangible evidence. Still, the government of Pakistan has arrested both Mufti Abdul Raoof [Masood Azhar’s brother] and Hamad Azhar [Masood Azhar’s son] as they have been identified in the Pulwama dossier. Pakistan will conduct its own investigation now,” he told The Hindu.
Mr. Azaz Syed also broke the news on Geo TV that Mr. Imran Khan will decide about the detention of Masood Azhar in the next 24 hours.
It remains to be seen whether this will materialise or not but experts are of the opinion that this time, Pakistan is extremely serious about a crackdown on the militant outfits operating from its soil.
‘There is no currency for militancy’
Senior journalist Kashif Abbasi said that in his interactions with senior civil and military leadership over the past few months, one thing was very clear – there was no currency for militancy. “Pakistan has realised that it will have to take action against militant organisations. With the kind of international pressure due to FATF [Financial Action Task Force], Pakistan cannot afford to have these organisations operate from its soil,” he noted.
”The international environment has changed. So Pakistan is cracking down on militancy for ourselves, not for anyone else,” he said.