India wants the United Nations to drop the reference to Indian agencies in its declaration of Pakistan-based Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (JuA) as a terrorist organisation.
This was conveyed to the UK, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), during a meeting between India’s Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and UK Minister of State for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams, in New Delhi Monday.
According to officials, India objected to UNSC admitting Pakistan’s case for banning JuA that “falsely” links the terror outfit to Indian intelligence agencies — it said it did not object to the ban, but was against the India link that Pakistan was claiming.
A splinter group of Tehrik-i-Taliban, JuA has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Pakistan in recent times, particularly those targeting military and law enforcement personnel, government buildings, politicians, minority groups and lawyers, officials said.
Sanctions on JuA were slapped last year by UNSC on Islamabad’s request which claimed it was linked to intelligence agencies in India. In May this year, US blocked Pakistan’s bid to have JuA commander, Umer Khalid Khurasani, listed as a terrorist by the UNSC’s sanctions committee. Khurasani is alleged to be the mastermind of the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014 that killed nearly 150 people and the Easter Sunday suicide bombing in Lahore in March 2016 that left 75 people dead.
While New Delhi said it had no objection in imposing of ban on the JuA, it is disappointed over UNSC accepting Pakistan’s proposal for the ban, that wrongly claims JuA links to Indian agencies. New Delhi sought UK’s intervention to immediately “delete” any reference to India, both in the narrative summary and statement of case submitted by Islamabad before the UNSC, officials said.
JuA reportedly operates from Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province and first came to prominence when it claimed responsibility for the 2014 Wagah attack, targeting security forces protecting the Shia community — that attack left 61 dead and over 100 injured. In 2016, US put JuA in the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). It was also banned by Pakistan, where it has been blamed for more than 100 terrorist attacks since 2014.
India also raised concerns over the use of UK’s soil for anti-India propaganda by Kashmiri and Sikh separatists and pointed to the desecration of the Indian flag in London ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in April 2018. No arrest has been made till date despite video evidence available with the Metropolitan Police, Indian officials said.
On the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar before the UNSC, New Delhi appreciated London’s support. The move to list Azhar was supported by UK, France and US but China vetoed, allowing Azhar to roam free.