UN designates JeM chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist

UN designates JeM chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist

United Nations, May 1: In a huge diplomatic win for India, the United Nations on Wednesday designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him.
“Big, small, all join together. Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist in @UN Sanctions list. Grateful to all for their support,” India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
A UNSC designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo.
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 deadly Pulwama attack carried out by the Pakistan-based militant outfit JeM.
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” and asking for “more time to examine” the proposal.
When asked whether China has lifted the hold, Akbaruddin said that “yes, done.”
The sanctions committee makes its decisions by consensus of its Members.
In recent days, there had been indications that China is likely to come around and will lift its hold on the Azhar proposal. Beijing had said on Tuesday that the vexed issue of designating Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN will be “properly resolved.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing Tuesday that “we support the listing issue being settled within the 1267 committee through dialogue and consultation and I believe this is the consensus of most members. Second, the relevant consultations are going on within the committee and has achieved some progress. Third, I believe, with the joint efforts of all parties, this issue can be properly resolved.”
Beijing put the hold on the proposal on March 13, 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.
In 2009, India moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar.
In 2016 again India 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.
Keeping up the international pressure to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, the US, supported by France and the UK, moved a draft resolution directly in the UN Security Council to blacklist the Pakistan-based militant organization’s head.
Beijing 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.
Hectic discussions between New Delhi, Washington, New York and Beijing had ensued after the March 13 hold by Beijing as it was clear that India will not relent on the matter.
Diplomats at the UN’s principal organ had warned that responsible member-states of the Security Council “may be forced to pursue other actions” if China continued to block moves to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
Beijing had staunchly opposed the Azhar listing to be taken directly to the powerful UN body as it would have had to publicly explain its stand on its reservations to list Azhar, whose group JeM has already been designated as terror outfit by the UN, before exercising its veto.
Sources had 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 militant 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.
US, France welcome
The United Nations on Wednesday designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him.
The proposal was moved by France, UK and the US in the Security Council’s 1267 al-qaida Sanctions Committee in February.
UNITED STATES
The US welcomed the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by the UN and sought “sustained actions” from Pakistan against terrorism, consistent with its international obligations.
A spokesperson for the US Mission in UN said, “The US welcomes the addition of Masood Azhar to the UN 1267 ISIL and al-Qaida Sanctions list, which requires all UN member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Azhar.”
“We expect all countries to uphold these obligations,” the spokesperson said, noting that the Jaish-e Mohammed is a United Nations-designated terrorist group, and Azhar, as the founder and leader of JEM, clearly met the criteria for designation by the world body. “We appreciate Pakistani Prime Minister Khan’s stated commitment that Pakistan, for the sake of its own future, will not allow the operation of militant and terrorist groups from its territory,” the spokesperson said.
FRANCE
France also welcomed the United Nations’ move, saying it “signals the successful realisation” of its efforts.
“We welcome the designation today, by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee, of Masood Azhar on the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and al-qaida Sanctions List,” according to a statement issued by the foreign affairs of France.
For many years, French diplomacy has been relentlessly pleading for sanctioning Azhar, “head of the terrorist group responsible, notably, for the Pulwama attack”, it said. The UNSC’s decision “signals the successful realisation of our efforts”, it said.
“France remains mobilised at all levels and all fora to take effective measures against terrorism,” the statement added.
“Big Victory”, says PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said that the United Nations’ decision to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist was a “big victory” in the fight against terror, and claimed that it will serve as the first step in his government’s plan to bring the curtains down on those targeting India.
“From now on, whenever the country faces danger of any kind from anybody, we will enter their homes and eliminate them. If they fire bullets at us, we will fire bombs at them,” he said at an election rally in Rajasthan’s Jaipur.
Masood Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist comes 10 years after India moved a proposal in this regard at the global forum, only to be blocked repeatedly by China. The decision will subject the terror mastermind to a global travel ban, freezing of assets and an arms embargo — among other restrictions. His outfit has been accused of orchestrating several terror attacks in India over the years, including the ones at Pulwama and Uri.
“The world has begun listening to India over the last few years. We cannot be ignored anymore. And I would like to say openly that this is just the start. Just wait and see what happens next,” PM Modi said, even as the crowds cheered.
He thanked the international community — especially nations such as France, United States and the United Kingdom — for backing India in its efforts to bring down Masood Azhar. “The international community has stood by India in its efforts to fight terror, and this is why I would like to extend my gratitude to them on the behalf of 130 crore Indians.”
The Prime Minister claimed that a small section of people in Pakistan have lately begun speaking out against their government’s terror-friendly policies. “However, here in India, some people were very happily mocking us while we were working towards this day. But I want to tell them today that this is not just Modi’s success — it’s the success of the entire country and its 130 crore people,” he said, adding that today should be a “day of pride” for every Indian regardless of ideology.
The reference, obviously, was to his detractors in the opposition.
Meanwhile, the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist created a flurry on Twitter, with BJP leaders crediting the “great victory” to PM Modi and those in the opposition preferring to praise the diplomats involved.