US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday hailed the blacklisting of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a “victory for American diplomacy”.
Welcoming the move by the United Nations Security Council, Pompeo congratulated the US Mission to the UN for their work in negotiating Azhar’s UN designation as a terrorist.
He further said the long-awaited action is a victory for American diplomacy and the international community against terrorism and an important step towards peace in South Asia.
In a huge diplomatic win for India, the United Nations on Wednesday 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.
China lifted technical hold after it 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,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had said.
India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin in a message said that it is a significant outcome for India because “we have been at it for several years”.
“The first effort was made 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,” he said.
Thanking the US, UK and France besides the countries in and outside the council which supported India’s effort at “not tolerating a terrorist”, Akbaruddin especially mentioned the Permanent Representative of Indonesia “who was instrumental in ensuring that the process went smoothly and in accordance with our agreed understandings”.
“All in all, this has been a happy and good day for those who would like to pursue the approach of zero tolerance for terrorism,” he added.
Beijing’s decision to lift the technical hold comes just over a week after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in China.
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.
The MEA had earlier said that New Delhi has shared all evidence of terrorist activities of JeM and its chief Masood Azhar with China regarding the terrorist leader’s 1267 listing.
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.
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, however, rejected the world body’s move as a “victory for India and validation of its stance”.
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.
In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, the US, UK and France had moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based terror group JeM’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
However, just before the deadline, China put a “technical hold” on the proposal.
Following this, the US circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council — with British and French support — to blacklist the JeM chief.
In 2009, India moved a proposal to designate Azhar, whose UN-proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14 in which over 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.
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 airbase 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.
Masood Azhar is the chief of JeM, which carried out a series of terror attacks on India including the 2001 Parliament attack, the January 2016 Pathankot terror attack and the September 2016 Uri terror attack. The most recent attack was the 14 February Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF personnel.