In a major diplomatic victory for India on Wednesday, Jaish-e-Mohammad founder and Pakistani citizen Masood Azhar has finally been listed as an international terrorist by the United Nation Security Council's 1267 committee. China, earlier on Wednesday, removed its hold on the listing of Masood Azhar, the man behind several terror attacks in India.
The UN Security Council Committee statement:
On 1 May 2019, the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities approved the addition of the entry specified below to its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2368 (2017) and adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations."
QDi.422 Name: 1: MOHAMMED 2: MASOOD 3: AZHAR 4: ALVI
Title: na Designation: na DOB: a) 10 Jul. 1968 b) 10 Jun. 1968 POB: Bahawalpur, Punjab Province, Pakistan Good quality a.k.a.: na Low quality a.k.a.: a) Masud Azhar b) Wali Adam Isah c) Wali Adam Esah Nationality: Pakistan Passport no: na National identification no: na Address: na Listed on: 1 May 2019 Other information: Founder of Jaish-i-Mohammed (QDe.019). Former leader of Harakat ul-Mujahidin / HUM (QDe.008).
Reacting to the development, India's permanent representative at the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin said that it is a significant success. "The chairperson of the UN Sanctions Committee did confirm to me that Masood Azhar is on the UN-sanctioned list. The efforts began in 2009. With several efforts being put in, they have paid. It is a significant success. This is only the first step to counter terrorism. US, UK, France and many other countries came out in support of India's effort of putting Masood Azhar on sanctioned list. The goal was set out 10 years ago," he said.
In the aftermath of February 14, 2019, Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred, the US along with France and UK had moved a proposal to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. But on March 13, the last day for the listing of Azhar, China had put a technical hold on the proposal, citing that it needed more time to understand the issue around the man responsible for the death of hundreds of Indians in terror strikes.
Jaish-e-Mohammad had taken responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack, the deadliest on Indian security forces in the last 20 years.
Zee Media's WION was the first to break the story on Sunday and Monday that China will remove its hold paving the way for the listing of Azhar.
Impact of Masood Azhar's listing
Listing of Azhar means that travel and an arms embargo will be imposed on him which means he cannot travel outside Pakistan nor can he buy weapons. His assets will also be frozen globally. But the big message that India has been able to send is that Pakistan remains the epicentre of terror. It is interesting to know that Pakistan hosts the largest number of United Nations listed terrorist.
Global support for listing
India has been trying to list Azhar as a global terrorist for nearly a decade. It was in first in 2009 that New Delhi tried to get Azhar as a United Nations listed terrorist. India was the lone proposer back then. In 2016, India again proposed the listing and it was co-sponsored by UK, US, France. But the move was was blocked by China.
In 2017, US, UK and France moved the proposal but China blocked the move again. The move in February of 2019 saw global support with 14 out of 15 members of UNCS backing the move for the listing of Masood Azhar. The proposal was moved US, UK, France and co-sponsored by Australia, Bangladesh, Italy and Japan.
After the Chinese hold in March, France had announced it will be putting a freeze on the assets of Azhar and will raise the issue with the European Union. A joint release by French Foreign, Interior and Finance Ministry said, "We will raise this issue with our European partners with a view to including Masood Azhar on the European Union list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, based on this decree."
Currently, a text has been circulated among all members of the European Union for listing of Azhar as a terrorist under EU jurisdiction.
Listing 20 years after hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 that led to Azhar's release
The listing of Masood Azhar comes 20 years after he was released when a group of Pakistan based terrorists hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC 814 and took it to Taliban-controlled Kandahar. The hijackers wanted not only Azhar released but also two other dreaded terrorists - Mushtaq Ahmed and Omar Sheikh - to be freed from Indian jails.
All three found safe houses in Pakistan after the release and in the years to follow masterminded many terror attacks in India. Omar Sheikh was also responsible for the beheading of The Wall Street Journal South Asia Bureau Chief Daniel Pearl.
Masood Azhar's JeM carried out many terror attacks in the years that followed his release including the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament, 2016 Pathankot Indian Air Force base attack and the 2019 Pulwama attack
Listing a week after Foreign Secretary visited China
The developments come just one week after Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited China and gave evidence regarding JeM's involvement in terror attacks in India. During his visit, Gokhale met Chinese officials including Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
A statement from the External Affairs Ministry said, "We have shared with China all evidence of terrorist activities of Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar. It is now for the 1267 Sanctions Committee and other authorized bodies of the UN to take a decision on the listing of Masood Azhar."
The British High Commissioner Sir Dominic Asquith had also expressed optimism on the listing of Azhar and said, "We are strong supporters of listing of Masood Azhar for a decade. So that we will get to that conclusion shortly."