In a major diplomatic win for India, the United Nations on Wednesday designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist after China lifted its technical hold on his listing under the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee.
The designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. The JeM has already been designated as a terror outfit by the United Nations.
Talking about the development at an election rally in Jaipur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “UNSC has listed JeM’s MasoodAzhar as a Global Terrorist. In our fight against terrorism, it is a big victory.”
“Big, small, all join together. Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist in UN sanctions list. Grateful to all for their support,” India’s Ambassador to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
Big,small, all join together.
Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist in @UN Sanctions list
Grateful to all for their support. 🙏🏽#Zerotolerance4Terrorism
— Syed Akbaruddin (@AkbaruddinIndia) May 1, 2019
Found no objection to list Masood Azhar: China
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing lifted its hold after it found no objection to the listing proposal by the US, the UK and France.
“On this listing issue, China has been communicating with relevant parties in a constructive and responsible fashion. 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 an objection to the listing proposal,” he said.
France, one of the sponsors of the proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN, was the first country to welcome the move. “This decision taken at the United Nations Security Council signals the successful realisation of our efforts,” the French Foreign Ministry said.
The development comes a month after China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, had put a hold on a fresh proposal by the US, UK and France to impose a ban on the chief of the JeM, which claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama terror attack where 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
The proposal was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist. China had blocked Azhar’s listing in 2009, 2016 and 2017.
Interestingly, China had placed its technical hold despite Beijing signing off on a UNSC statement that “condemned in the strongest terms” the Pulwama terror attack and named Jaish-e-Mohammad for the “heinous and cowardly suicide bombing”.
The efforts to resolve Azhar’s listing issue had gathered momentum in the past month as Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale spoke to his counterparts in all key UNSC member countries and visited Washington and Beijing.
What does this sanction mean for Masood Azhar
Pakistan said it would immediately enforce the sanctions imposed on the JeM chief. “This entails a ban on foreign travel, asset freeze and arms embargo. Earlier proposals to list Masood Azhar failed to generate the requisite consensus in the Sanctions Committee as the information did not meet its technical criteria. These proposals were aimed at maligning Pakistan,” Dawn quoted Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal as saying.
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. The travel ban entails preventing the entry into or transit by all states through their territories by designated individuals.
Under the arms embargo, all states are required to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related material of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or training related to military activities, to designated individuals and entities.
Incidentally, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, who was also listed under the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee, continues to move around freely in Pakistan.
Azhar masterminded Pulwama, Parliament attacks
Azhar masterminded several attacks on India, including the 2001 Parliament strike, one at Pathankot air force base, Army camps in Jammu and Uri, and the latest suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama.
Azhar, who was released by the NDA government along with Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar in exchange of the passengers of the hijacked flight IC-814, formed the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in 1999.