Major diplomatic win for India
PM, world powers welcome decision
UNITED NATIONS, May 1: In a huge diplomatic win for India, the United Nations today designated Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief, a decade after New Delhi approached the world body for the first time on the issue.
“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.
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The UN Committee listed Azhar on May 1, 2019 as being associated with Al-Qaeda 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 JeM.
However, there was no mention of the deadly Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which was claimed by the JeM.
A UNSC designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. 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.
“This is for us a significant outcome because we have been at it for several years. The first effort that we made in this regard was in 2009. More recently, we have been persistent, diligent and in a subterranean manner making all our efforts towards this goal. Today that goal stands achieved,” Akbaruddin said.
“All in all it’s been a happy day, a good day for all this who would like to pursue the approach of zero tolerance for terrorism,” he said.
Commenting on the listing of Azhar, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said, “the current listing proposal has been agreed after all political references, including removal of attempts to link it with Pulwama and maligning” the struggle of the Kashmiris.
Faisal said that Pakistan will immediately enforce the sanctions imposed on Azhar. He also rejected the world body’s move as a “victory for India and validation of its stance” as projected by the Indian media.
China earlier removed its hold on the proposal moved by France, UK and the US in the UNSC’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee in February just days after the deadly Pulwama terror attack.
A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China was the sole hold-out in the 15-nation body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking attempts by placing a “technical hold”. All decisions of the committee are taken through consensus.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China lifted technical hold after Beijing found no objection to the listing proposal following a careful study of the “revised materials.”
“Recently, relevant countries revised and re-submitted the materials for the listing proposal to the 1267 Committee. After careful study of the revised materials and taking into consideration the opinions of relevant parties concerned, China does not have objection to the listing proposal,” he said.
The US welcomed the listing of Azhar and sought “sustained actions” from Pakistan against terrorism, consistent with its international obligations.
“We expect all countries to uphold these obligations,” a spokesperson for the US Mission in UN told PTI, noting that the JeM is a UN-designated terrorist group, and Azhar, as the founder and leader of JeM, clearly met the criteria for designation by the world body.
France also welcomed the UN move to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, saying it “signals the successful realisation” of its efforts.
For many years, French diplomacy has been relentlessly pleading for sanctioning Azhar, “head of the terrorist group responsible, notably, for the Pulwama attack”, said a statement issued by the Foreign Affairs of France.
France had adopted national sanctions against Azhar on March 15.
A French official at the UN told PTI, “We commend this designation; we have been advocating for the sanctioning of Masood Azhar for many years. This an outcome of these efforts. We will remain committed to the fight against terrorism at all levels, at the UN and in other organisations.”
Meanwhile, India was welcomed the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing it as a “big success” for the country’s efforts to root out terrorism.
Political parties cutting across ideological divide as well as strategic affairs experts also hailed the UN action against the Pakistan-based Azhar, nearly a decade after India first pushed for banning the terrorist, who is the mastermind of several major terror strikes in India.
“It is a big success for India’s efforts to root out terrorism… India’s voice is being heard globally. India’s views cannot be ignored any longer, it has been proved,” Modi said an election rally in Jaipur.
In its reaction, the External Affairs Ministry called Azhar’s designation as a UN proscribed terrorist as a step in the right direction to demonstrate the international community’s resolve to fight against terrorism and its enablers.
The UN Sanctions Committee on Wednesday designated Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to ban him.
BJP president Amit Shah and several other party leaders credited Modi for Azhar’s listing while the Congress noted its “disappointment” over no mention of JeM chief’s role in the Pulwama terror attack in the UN resolution.
Shah said Modi’s diplomatic efforts led to the United Nation’s decision as he pitched for his “strong and decisive” leadership.
“That is why India needs a strong & decisive leader. Grateful to PM Narendra Modi and his diplomatic efforts that led to the UN designating Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. It was long overdue. This also reflects PM Modi’s commitment towards Zero tolerance against terrorism,” Shah tweeted.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said it was a welcome step but added that the opposition party was disappointed that the UN listing does not mention the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives, and has no reference to Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistan based Masood Azhar’s belated declaration as a global terrorist by UN is surely a welcome step. India’s fight against terrorism is resolute. We are disappointed that UN listing doesn’t mention Pulwama/J&K while listing Azhar’s role in terrorist activities,” he tweeted.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah alleged that the sacrifices of CRPF men were sold down the river for a symbolic win.
“No mention of terror in Kashmir & no mention of Pulwama. It’s amazing how quickly the sacrifices of the CRPF men were sold down the river to get a symbolic win,” he said.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav congratulated the Indian diplomatic corp for the tireless work that led to this “significant victory”.
“We demand Pakistan immediately arrest him, freeze his assets and shutdown all organisations linked to him,” he said.
Former Foreign Secretary Salman Haider termed the UN decision as a “favourable development” while former Indian envoy to Pakistan G Parthasarathy called it a major achievement. (PTI)
Chronology of events
Following is the chronology of the major events leading to designation of Masood Azhar as global terrorist:-
2009: India moves a proposal by itself to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo. China blocks the move.
2016: India again moves the proposal with the backing of the P3 – the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar.
2017: The P3 nations move a similar proposal again. China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocks the proposal from being adopted.
February 27, 2019: The US, the UK and France move a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
March 13, 2019: China puts the hold on the proposal scuttling yet another attempt to blacklist the JeM chief. The proposal was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
March 28, 2019: The US, supported by France and the UK, directly moves a draft resolution in the UN Security Council to blacklist the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief.
April 3, 2019: China hits out at the US for threatening to use “all available resources” to designate the Pakistan-based JeM chief as a ‘global terrorist’, saying Washington’s move is complicating the issue and not conducive to peace and stability in South Asia.
April 30, 2019: China says “some progress” has been achieved on designating Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN and hopes that the vexed issue will be “properly resolved”.
May 1, 2019: The 1267 Sanctions Committee designates Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifts the hold on the proposal of the US, the UK and France. (PTI)