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World welcomes ban on JEM chief Masood Azhar

MEA says Pulwama incident played an important role in UN blacklisting JEM chief Masood Azhar; listing comes as blow to Pakistan; International community welcomes decision of UN Security Council; Union Minister Arun Jaitley says It is great diplomatic victory for India; says it is unfortunate that opposition feels they may pay political price if they join celebration.

Masood Azhar being placed on the UN 1267 sanctions list as a global terrorist has been welcomed by leaders from India and abroad. India has said it is step in the right direction to demonstrate the international community’s resolve to fight against terrorism and its enablers.

The Ministry of External Affairs said the stance taken by China is a welcome step. While highlighting that India does not negotiate with anyone on issues of terrorism and security, the MEA spokesperson said India expects Pakistan to implement the sanctions imposed by the 1267 committee.

Echoing similar sentiments UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson, expressed the hope that all member states would abide by the decisions of the Sanctions Committee including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban. Indonesia had chaired the sanctions committee meeting. The Indonesian envoy to the UN said that the sanctity and credibility of the UN Security council’s sanctions committee have been preserved while blacklisting Masood Azhar.

The international community has wholeheartedly welcomed JEM chief Masood Azhar’s being declared a global terrorist. It was the US that led the proposal. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo tweeted : “Congrats to our team @USUN for their work in negotiating JEM’s Masood Azhar’s #UN designation as a terrorist. This long-awaited action is a victory for American diplomacy and the international community against terrorism, and an important step towards peace in South Asia.”

France, which also backed the proposal to ban Azhar, was the first country to welcome the United Nations’ move, saying it “signals the successful realisation” of its efforts.

China in its official response said that it had careful studed of the revised proposal and had no objection to its listing. China further said : The proper settlement of the above-mentioned issue again shows that in international counter-terrorism cooperation, we have to uphold the rules and procedures of relevant UN body, follow the principle of mutual respect, resolve differences and build consensus through dialogue, and prevent politicizing technical issues.

In London, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the UN’s designation of Azhar was a positive development for the South Asian region.

India has for long been urging the UN to brand Azhar as a terrorist. After the Pulwama terror attacks, India increased its pressure on the world body.

In February, the United States, Britain and France made a joint proposal to the 1267-member United Nations Sanctions Committee to declare Musharraf Azhar, a global terrorist. This was the fourth such attempt over the last 10 years to brand Azhar as a global terrorist. However, China put a technical hold on the proposal. With China removing that hold. India achieved a major diplomatic and political victory.

The UN’s Resolution 1267 in 1999 led to the formation of a 1267 Committee. It imposes sanctions, including financial on individuals and entities associated with terror outfits. Masood Azhar is the latest to be added to the 1267 list.

The 1267 Committee Sanctions Committee came into existence in 1999 with the adoption of a resolution. It imposed a limited air embargo and assets freeze on the Taliban.

The Committee comprises all 15 members of the Security Council and makes its decision by consensus.

Over time, the regime evolved and the measures became a targeted assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against designated individuals and entities.

In June 2011, the Security Council unanimously adopted 2 resolutions that split the list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions into two.

The body came to be known as the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee largely dealing with individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaida.

On 17 December 2015, with the adoption of a resolution by the Security Council the listing criteria was expanded to include individuals and entities supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The Sanctions List currently contains the names of 262 individuals and 83 entities and was last updated with the inclusion of Azhar Masood on 1st May 2019.

So who is Masood Azhar?

He is the founder and leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a terrorist organisation that operates in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Azhar founded the terrorist outfit in 2000. He was first arrested in Anantnag in 1994 for suspected terrorist activites and travelling under a fake name.

In 2001, terrorists from the Jaish-e-Mohammed attacked the Indian Parliament building, resulting in 14 deaths, which included 5 terrorists.

The Jaish was also responsible for the 2016 Pathankot air force station & Uri army camp attacks.

The JeM also claimed responsibility for Pulwama bombing on the 14th of February, 2019 in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred.

China repeatedly blocked India’s move to impose a ban on Azhar. The last technical hold by China came on Nov. 2 2019 when they blocked a proposal by the US, France and the United Kingdom. But thanks to India’s diplomatic efforts in creating a global consensus, China lifted the technical hold resulting in the listing..

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that designation of Masood Azhar as global terrorist by UN is a big victory of PM Modi’s diplomatic efforts.

Slamming opposition, Jaitley said that these parties are not able to stand with country on issues of national interest. He added that friends in the opposition think that if they join in this victory they might have to pay a political price for it.

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