2019 Pulwama attack kashmir
© Reuters / Younis Khaliq
The aftermath of the Jaish-e-Mohammed attack in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. February 14, 2019.
Islamabad detained close relatives of the leader of an Islamist terror group that was at the center of the dramatic flare-up of Indo-Pakistani tensions. Pakistan denied that the crackdown was initiated by pressure from New Delhi.

Pakistani Interior Minister Shehryar Khan Afridi confirmed that Mufti Abdul Rauf was among the 44 people, belonging to "banned organizations," detained by authorities on Tuesday. Rauf is the brother of Masood Azhar, the chief of the Pakistan-based jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that had been carrying out terror attacks across the border with India. Azhar's son, Hamad, was also detained.

Speaking to reporters, the minister acknowledged that the names of both men came up on the 'terrorists' dossier', shared earlier with Islamabad by India, but stressed that the crackdown wasn't prompted by it.

The nation "is acting against the banned groups in its own interest and there is no external pressure whatsoever," the Pakistani official said.

His statement came as India had been long accusing Islamabad of "inaction" towards JeM. The group's goal is to have the disputed border region of Kashmir, which is now partially controlled by New Delhi, join Pakistan.

Last month, the militants claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed over 40 Indian policemen. Two weeks later India sent a dozen jets to bomb what it said were terror camps on Pakistani soil. The conflict quickly escalated into cross-border shelling and open aerial combat between the nations.