Pakistani police have arrested a senior commander in al-Qaeda's South Asian branch, according to authorities.

Shahid Usman was arrested with four others in the city of Karachi after police received intelligence that he was planning attacks in the city.

Weapons and 10kg (22lb) of explosives were also seized in the raid on the militants who are part of the al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent group.

"He is the Karachi chief of al-Qaeda's newly formed wing working under the set up of Asim Umar, the South Asia chief of al-Qaeda," a senior official at the police counter-terrorism unit said.

"Unlike the usual militant profile, Usman comes from an affluent background," the police officer said.

Earlier this year, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri countered the growing coverage of the Islamic State (IS) by announcing the creation of a new Indian front in a call to Muslims in South Asia to join the "caravan of jihad".

In a 56-minute video, Zawahiri said the "Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent" is to be "the standard bearer" of former leader Osama bin Laden's "global message which aimed to unite the [world's Muslims] in jihad against enemy, liberate occupied lands and establish the caliphate".