New York: In a huge diplomatic victory for India, the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday declared Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, two and a half months after his outfit carried out the ghastly terror attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama.
The UNSC’s 1267 Sanctions Committee made the declaration after China, which had blocked the proposal four times earlier, lifted its “technical hold” amidst intense pressure from the Security Council’s other permanent members like the US, the UK and France.
“Big, small, all join together. Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist in @UN Sanctions list. Grateful to all for their support,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
The action will mean that Azhar’s assets will be frozen by the UN member countries and his travel will be barred in these nations.
“It (defending Azhar) was increasingly becoming untenable for the Chinese,” said an Indian government official on condition of anonymity.
China had indicated on Tuesday that it would no more block the resolution, which was initially moved by India, as its Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the “relevant consultations” at the Sanctions Committee had made “some progress” and the issue would be “properly resolved”.
Beijing had been blocking Azhar’s listing despite a strong push by the US, UK and France. The latest such action was taken by China last month, which was described by India as “disappointing”.
Azhar, a Pakistani national, founded the JeM with the help of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI in January 2000, soon after his release from an Indian jail in exchange for 166 hostages of an Indian Airlines plane which was hijacked to Kandahar in Afghanistan during a flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi.
Since then, the outfit has carried out umpteen terror attacks in India, including the one on Parliament on December 13, 2001.
The latest outrageous action by the outfit was in Pulwama on February 14, when a suicide bomber of JeM rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF convoy on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, killing 40 security personnel.
“To say that Beijing blacklisted Azhar under US pressure was not the only factor. But the Americans going about the 1267 Committee and circulating their own draft at the UN Security Council would have surely concerned the Chinese,” the Indian official added.
“At the Security Council, the Chinese would have had to explain its position if they vetoed the resolution which is not the case at the 1267 committee,” the official explained.