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UN Security Council blacklisted Masood Azhar

02 May, 2019

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A UN Security Council committee blacklisted Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar on Wednesday, ending a long diplomatic impasse. The UN sanctions committee on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and al-Qaeda announced in a press release the designation of Masood Azhar over his ties to al-Qaeda. The sanctions committee accused Azhar of ‘participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities’ carried out by the JeM. Under the decision, he will be subject to an assets freeze, global ban and arms embargo.

Western powers have for many years been attempting to sanction JeM chief, but China has repeatedly opposed their efforts. The United States, Britain and France had initially asked the UN Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee to subject the JeM founder to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze in February. But the move by the 15-member committee, which operates by consensus, was blocked by China, which had previously prevented the sanctions committee from imposing sanctions on Azhar in 2016 and 2017. China had said it wanted more time to study the February request.

Reacting to the development, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Dr Faisal said Islamabad agreed to the move after the listing removed references to the February attack in Pulwama, as well as linking it to the freedom movement in Indian-held Kashmir. “We’re going to enforce this decision forthwith,” Faisal told reporters in the Islamabad, referring to the travel ban and asset freezes.

“The listing of Masood Azhar had been under consideration in the Sanctions Committee for several years (since 2009). He has been proscribed under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act for some time, even before his case for listing was taken up by the UN committee,” the FO spokesman said. “The UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee listing is governed by clear rules and is based on strict technical criteria. All decisions of the committee are taken through consensus. The committee procedures allow members to place technical holds to provide additional time for further discussions to reach a common understanding on matters under its consideration. Many members have placed technical holds on various listing proposals,” he said.

‘Pakistan has always advocated the need for respecting these technical rules and regulations and has opposed the politicisation of the Sanctions Committee,” Dr Faisal maintained. “However, the 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,” he clarified. “These proposals were aimed at maligning Pakistan and the legitimate struggle of the people of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmiri for the realisation of their right to self-determination and were thus rejected by Pakistan, which has always maintained that resolution of any listing issue should be by consensus, through objective dialogue and consultations, within the 1267 Committee framework and most importantly without politicization,” he asserted.

“Over the last few years, many states, including Pakistan have been concerned at an increasing trend of politicisation of this committee, including attempts to include matters that are unrelated to the technical criteria,” Dr Faisal said. “In this case as well, we witnessed politically motivated attempts manifested through calculated leaks, particularly in the Indian media, about matters under discussion in the committee, which are strictly confidential,” he continued. “The current listing proposal has been agreed after all political references, including removal of attempts to link it with Pulwama and maligning the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiris in IHK for realisation of the right to self-determination,” he elaborated.

“Pakistan maintains that terrorism is a menace to the world. This includes the Indian state-sponsored terrorism against innocent Kashmiris in the occupied valley, including the inhuman use of pellet guns and human shields which finds no parallel in the civilised world,” the FO spokesman said. “Indian occupation forces continue to massacre Kashmiris enjoying judicial immunity with impunity through the draconian laws. We will continue to provide diplomatic, political and moral support to our Kashmiri brethren,” he pledged.

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