Delhi repeats call to tag JeM's Azhar a designated terrorist
India on Thursday repeated its call for UN sanctions on Masood Azhar operating from Pakistani soil, without naming China that has been repeatedly blocking the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief’s proscription at the global body.
Beijing has been blocking successive moves to label the JeM chief as a designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN.
As recently as last July, China had used its veto power in the Security Council to block for the fourth time the proscription of Azhar, who is wanted in the January 2016 Pathankot terror attack too.
India renewed its demand to ban Azhar hours after the JeM claimed responsibility for the attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Kashmir earlier in the day.
“This heinous and despicable act has been perpetrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based and supported terrorist organisation proscribed by the United Nations and other countries,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
The foreign office statement underscored that the terror group is led by Azhar, “who has been given full freedom by (the) Government of Pakistan to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity”.
Delhi asked Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from its territory and to dismantle the infrastructure used by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries.
Pakistan issued a statement, saying: “Attack in Pulwama in the Indian Occupied Kashmir is a matter of grave concern.
“We have always condemned acts of violence anywhere in the world.
“We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations.”
Thursday’s attack, which left 37 troopers dead, came at a time the neighbours are engaged in opening the Kartarpur Corridor in time for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak late this year. The two sides are scheduled to meet on March 14 to work out the modalities that are already under discussion.
Azhar was one of the terrorists Delhi had freed on December 31, 1999, to end the IC-814 hijack. Handed over by India in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Azhar has since returned to his birthplace in the Bahawalpur area of Pakistan to set up a huge facility that doubles as a terror training camp.
By late in the night, major world capitals had reached out to India through their missions or directly to condemn the attack and express solidarity with New Delhi.
US ambassador Ken Juster tweeted: “The U.S. Mission in India strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. The United States stands alongside India in confronting terror and defeating it.”
The Russian embassy said: “We denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterate the need to combat these inhuman acts with decisive and collective response without any double standards.”
Israeli ambassador Ron Malka tweeted: “Israel strongly condemns the terror attack in #Pulwama and stands by our Indian friends during this difficult hour. We send our deepest condolences to the CRPF and their families, the people of India and the Indian government following the terrible #KashmirTerrorAttack.”
India’s immediate neighbourhood, too, was quick in reaching out with messages from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, each expressing solidarity.