Karachi, Pakistan
Karachi, Pakistan

Pakistani police have arrested five suspected members of al-Qaida's newly formed South Asia wing, including the man believed to be the group's chief in Karachi.

Security officials say Shahid Usman and four other suspects were arrested this week in the southern Pakistani port city.

The officials described Usman as the al-Qaida wing's chief in Karachi.  

Al-Qaida announced the formation of its South Asia branch in September, with leader Ayman al-Zawahiri threatening to raise the flag of “jihad” and spread Islamic rule on the Indian subcontinent.

In a 55-minute video posted online, Zawahiri said al-Qaida’s new unit in the subcontinent would rescue Muslims from injustice and oppression in the Indian states of Gujarat, Assam and Kashmir, and in Bangladesh and Myanmar, also known as Burma

Security analysts see al-Qaida's apparent new push as an effort to enhance its diminishing clout as it loses ground to jihadist group Islamic State, which now controls large portions of Syria and Iraq.