In a Huge Win for India, UN Brands JeM Chief Masood Azhar Global Terrorist After Support from China
China had put a technical hold in March on a fresh proposal to impose a ban on Masood Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based JeM, which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack.
New Delhi: The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday designated Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him under the Security Council's Sanctions Committee.
Hours after the UN move, the Pakistani media quoted the country's foreign office as saying that it will "immediately enforce UN sanctions" imposed on Azhar.
Sharing the news, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador, Syed Akbaruddin, tweeted, "Big,small, all join together. Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist in @UN Sanctions list. Grateful to all for their support."
Akbaruddin later thanked USA, UK and France and several others in the council and outside the council. "I would also like to thank permanent representative of Indonesia. This is a significant outcome. We have been at it for several years, today the goal stands achieved," he said.
When asked whether China has lifted the hold, Akbaruddin said, "yes, done." Sources told News18 that Azhar is likely to be detained.
News agency ANI, quoting top government sources, said that the JeM chief was put under house arrest at Markaz Subhan Allah in Bahawalpur on February 26, post Balakot air strike. He was recently shifted to a safe house in Islamabad, the source said.
"Mohammad Masood Azhar Alvi was listed on 1 May 2019 pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 4 of resolution 2368 (2017) as being 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; supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material to; recruiting for; otherwise supporting acts or activities of; and other acts or activities indicating association with," the official listing reads.
China removed its hold on the proposal, which was moved by France, UK and the US in the Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee in February just days after the horrific terror attack against Indians security forces in Pulwama carried out by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish.
Beijing, however, had put a technical hold in March on a fresh proposal to impose a ban on Azhar. It was for the fourth time that China had blocked the JeM head's listing as a global terrorist by the UN.
China lifting its hold is a massive diplomatic win for India, which had relentlessly pursued the matter with its international allies. There had been sustained international pressure on China, particularly from the US, to remove its objection to Azhar's listing.
Welcoming the move, France said that it remains mobilised at all levels to take effective measures against terrorism. "For many years now, French diplomacy has been relentlessly pleading for sanctioning Azhar, head of the terrorist group responsible, notably, for the Pulwama attack last February. In application of its Monetary and Financial Code, France had adopted national sanctions against Masood Azhar on 15th March. This decision taken at the United Nations Security Council signals the successful realisation of our efforts," the co-sponsor of the proposal said in a statement. The United States also welcomed the move.
A spokesperson of Pakistan, however, said that Indian media's "victory" narrative is "absolutely false and baseless". "Prime Minister Imran Khan has clearly stated that there is no space for any proscribed organisation or its affiliates to operate from Pakistani territory," he said.
In 2009, India moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar. In 2016 again, New Delhi moved the proposal with the P3 — the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the air base in Pathankot in January, 2016.
In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.
Quoting its sources, news agency PTI said that the statement of the case of the latest proposal by France had mentioned that JeM had taken responsibility for the suicide attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14 in which over 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
The statement of the case had also noted that Azhar is a former leader of the terrorist group Harakat al Mujahadin and he had given a call to volunteers to join the fight in Afghanistan against Western forces.
An assets freeze under the Sanctions Committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.
Reacting to the development, former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, "I congratulate the Indian diplomatic corp for the tireless work that has led to this significant victory — it is the first step in ensuring Masood Azhar pays for his crimes. We demand Pakistan immediately arrest him, freeze his assets and shut down all organisations linked to him."
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