Launching a massive crackdown against banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Pakistan on Tuesday arrested Mufti Rauf Asghar, brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar and Hammad Azhar, son of Masood Azhar, into preventive custody.
State Minister for Interior Affairs Shahryar Afridi confirmed the development and said 44 people affiliated with the banned organization have been arrested so far.
The arrest of Rauf Asghar sends a clear message that Pakistan has buckled under India's pressure because Rauf is only next to Masood Azhar in Jaish's hierarchy.
The decision to crackdown on JeM was taken after Pakistan had assured the international community that it will take action against JeM and other terror groups operating from Pakistani soil. The names of Rauf and Hamza Azhar were also mentioned in the dossier given by India to Pakistan about February 14's Pulwama attack.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani interior ministry secretary added that the JeM men will be released if no evidence is brought up against them. He added that the action was not taken under any pressure from India or global community but was based on the decision taken by the National Action Plan committee.
On Monday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that Islamabad is examining the dossier sent by India in connection with Pulwama terror attack.
In the dossier, India has asked Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against Masood Azhar and other terrorists operating from Pakistan's soil.
When asked about Pakistan's stand to put Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar on UNSC list, Qureshi said that Islamabad needs to take a decision on this matter on March 12.
"On March 12 we will have to take some decision. We have reached a stage where Pakistan will have to take a decision. We cant make a scene of pakistan..We will have to take international as well as domestic stakeholders in confidence before taking a call," Qureshi told Geo News.