UN blacklists Masood Azhar as terrorist
The United Nations on Wednesday designated the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on the proposal, prompting India to toast a diplomatic victory that comes after a decade-long struggle.
“Big, small, all join together. Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist in @UN Sanctions list. Grateful to all for their support,” India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin, tweeted.
Islamabad, which had opposed the blacklisting of Azhar, said it would immediately enforce the sanctions imposed on him — an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo that all UN member states are required to enforce without delay.
Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jamat-ud-Dawa and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, has been on the list for a decade now.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed the development was proof of India’s growing global influence and marked a big success for its efforts to combat terror, speaking in the middle of a general election and on a day Maoists killed 15 policemen and their driver.
Azhar’s group had claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama terror strike that killed 40 CRPF jawans and has, along with the retaliatory air strikes on Balakot, been dominating the BJP’s electoral discourse.
The 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, which has blacklisted Azhar, said he was associated with al Qaida for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of… (and) supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material to… (and) recruiting for… otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Jaish, and “other acts or activities indicating association with” the group.
France, Britain and America had moved the proposal in the committee in February, days after the Pulwama attack. China, a close ally of Pakistan, had blocked it by placing a “technical hold” and asking for “more time to examine” the proposal. All decisions of the committee are taken through consensus.
On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that Beijing had lifted the hold after a careful study of “the revised materials and taking into consideration the opinions of relevant parties”.
Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said the proposal was “agreed after all political references were removed, including attempts to link it with Pulwama and maligning the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiris”.
He said the move would have no negative impact on Islamabad. “Pakistan maintains that terrorism is a menace to the world, including the Indian state-sponsored terrorism against innocent Kashmiris in IOK (Indian-occupied Kashmir).”
India had moved proposals to blacklist Azhar in 2009, 2016 (after the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase) and 2017 but came up against a Chinese wall each time.
Faisal said these “earlier proposals (had) failed to generate the requisite consensus in the Sanctions Committee” and “were aimed at maligning Pakistan and the legitimate struggle of the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir... and were thus rejected by Pakistan”.
Akbaruddin said India had been “persistent, diligent and in a subterranean manner making all our efforts towards this goal”. “Today that goal stands achieved,” he said. “All in all it’s been a happy day, a good day….”