Five persons suspected to be members of Pakistan-based militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) were arrested here on Sunday.

The elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which conducted the drive identified one of the detained as Rezwan Ahmed, 26, a Pakistani citizen. Officials said his father’s name is Shafi Uddin, a resident of House 170, Road 8 in Delhi Colony, Karachi.

“The arrested Pakistani citizen, a member of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, was involved in fuelling insurgencies in India using the soil of Bangladesh,” Colonel Motiur Rahman, additional director-general of the RAB, told journalists.

Three of the detained are said to be locals but are directly involved with the militant organisation.

The RAB captured them from a house at Sukanya Tower in Mirpur and the city’s New Market area. The battalion also seized three illegal passports, a computer, four identity cards, five mobiles and Indian currency.

When the detained were presented before the media, Rezwan said he had received training in firearms and explosives of different kinds, adding that his assignment in Dhaka was to recruit local youths and prepare them for staging attacks in India.

RAB officials said the Pakistani national had been recruiting members of the outfit and acting as its regional coordinator.

One of the detained, Billal, was arrested earlier by Indian authorities and was in jail for 10 years in connection with the hijacking a plane in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1999, an RAB official said.

This is the first time that law enforcers here have captured suspected members of the JeM, one of the major terrorist outfits operating in South Asia. Last year, the Detective Branch of the police arrested six foreign operatives of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and a number of their local associates.

Billal told journalists that he was arrested in an anti-state case in India, and admitted that he also had a role in hijacking the Indian Airlines plane, which was flying from Kathmandu to Delhi.

The hijackers forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar in the then Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Indian authorities had to set free three militant leaders — including JeM supremo Moulana Masood Azhar — in exchange for the passengers taken hostage.

Along with another militant group, the JeM is blamed for the attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001. It is also suspected to have a role in the abduction and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi.

After the Parliament attack, the Pakistan government banned the organisation and the U.S. State Department listed it as a terrorist outfit. The JeM’s main objective is to separate Kashmir from India.

More In: International | News