Updated: May 2, 2019 5:36:45 am
THE CONGRESS on Wednesday welcomed the UN move to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist but was quick to invoke the Kandahar episode, arguing it was the A B Vajpayee government which had released Azhar from jail. It said the Pulwama terror attack would not have happened had the Narendra Modi government pushed China and the international community to agree to his listing earlier.
Congress leaders put up a brave face hoping the move against Azhar will not have much electoral impact but admitted the development will certainly give the BJP a talking point, adding to the ruling party’s aggressive national security and nationalism narrative.
Party leaders argued that the process for designating Azhar as global terrorist way back in 2009 under the UPA government has given results now. “I am happy that it has materialised,” ANI quoted former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying.
Best of Express Premium
The Congress said the designation of Azhar, which the BJP has already claimed as a success for the Modi government’s diplomatic efforts, was a first step. It demanded more action from the government against Azhar and Pakistan.
“The Modi government should now push for a declaration of bounty on the head of Masood Azhar as was ensured by UPA-Congress in the case of Hafiz Saeed by getting a bounty declared on his head. We expected the Modi government to act at a greater speed in pursuing the declaration of Masood Azhar, but after the agenda-less visit of PM Modi to China (Wuhan Summit) they did not push for this case with China in the entire period of 2018,” Surjewala said.
“Several precious lives in terror attacks like Pulwama could have been avoided if the Modi government had pushed the international community, including China, to agree to declaration of Masood Azhar as international terrorist,” he said.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav congratulated the “Indian diplomatic corp for the tireless work that has led to this significant victory”. He said 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,” he said.
National Congress leader Omar Abdullah asked whether it was true that the listing of Azhar was made “possible because all references to Pulwama and terrorism in Kashmir were dropped”.
“No mention of terror in Kashmir and 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 tweeted.
Surjewala said, “History is dotted with BJP’s compromise of national security in tackling terrorism, which is reflected in actions like the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh…”
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.