Pak Crackdown Against Banned Groups; Masood Azhar’s Son, Brother Detained


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Tuesday confirmed a crackdown against individuals and entities of all banned outfits as designated by the UN Security Council, the Foreign Office announced on Tuesday.

Forty four under-observation members of proscribed organisations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the brother and son of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar, respectively — have been taken in “preventive detention” for investigation, Dawn quoting officials of Ministry of Interior reported on Tuesday.

“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.”

This was also 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 while talking to the media.

He acknowledged that some people who have been detained — including Raoof and Azhar — 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.”

The UN Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019, has been issued in accordance with the provisions of Pakistan’s UN Security Council (UNSC) Act, 1948.

Interpreting the order, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said it means that the government has taken over the control of all proscribed outfits operating in the country.

 “(From now onwards), all kinds of assets and properties of all (banned) organisations will be in the government’s control,” the spokesperson told Dawn news.

He added that the government will also seize the charity wings and ambulances of such outfits.

 “The objective of the (order) is to streamline the procedure for implementation of Security Council Sanctions against designated individuals and entities,” Faisal said.

The developments come a day after reports emerged of a decisive crackdown to be imminently launched by the government against extremist and militant organisations in the country, Dawn news said.

Information minister Fawad Chaudhry said the government had taken a firm decision that there would be stern action against all militant groups.

Prime Minister Imran Khan while emphasising eradication of “militancy and extremism” from society, has said the state could not be allowed to “become hostage to extremists”.

Interior Minister was also questioned by a reporter regarding the status of Jamaatud Dawa, which the reporter said is still “under a watch list” according to Indian media and not yet proscribed.

Masood Azhar, a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province, had formed the Jaish-e-Mohammed in 2000, a year after he was released by the NDA government in 1999 in exchange for the hostages of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814. 

Masood Azhar, 50, has also been accused of being the mastermind of the 2001 Parliament attack, suicide attack on Jammu and Kashmir state assembly, attack on Pathankot IAF base and the latest Pulwama strike.



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