Azhar’s listing: India says step to show resolve against terror

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Raveesh Kumar (Photo: Twitter)

New Delhi– India on Wednesday welcomed the decision of the UN Security Councils 1267 Sanctions Committee to declare Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, saying it was a “step in the right direction to demonstrate the international communitys resolve to fight against terrorism and its enablers”.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the action is “in accordance with India’s position and in line with the information that India has shared with the members of the Sanctions Committee regarding terrorist activities” of Azhar and the JeM.

“The 1267 Sanctions Committee’s decision to designate the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Masood Azhar, as a UN-proscribed terrorist is a step in the right direction to demonstrate the international community’s resolve to fight against terrorism and its enablers,” Kumar said.

“We welcome the decision. This is in accordance with India’s position and in line with the information that India has shared with the members of the Sanctions Committee regarding terrorist activities of Masood Azhar and the Jaish-e-Mohammad,” he said.

The spokesperson said India will continue with its efforts through international forums “to ensure that terrorist organizations and their leaders who cause harm to our citizens are brought to justice.”

China had been blocking Azhar’s listing despite a strong push by the US, UK and France. It had put a “technical hold” on the proposal four times, the latest being in March.

“It (defending Azhar) was increasingly becoming untenable for the Chinese,” said an Indian government official on condition of anonymity.

The Committee said Azhar was sanctioned pursuant to him being “associated with Al-Qaida for ‘participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of, supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material to, recruiting for, otherwise supporting acts or activities of, and other acts or activities indicating association with Jaish-e-Mohammed.”

It noted that Azhar had founded Jaish-e-Mohammed upon his release from prison in India in 1999 in exchange for 155 hostages held on an Indian Airlines flight that had been hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Azhar has also financially supported JeM since its founding, the committee said while giving reasoning for the action.

It also pointed out that the UN Security Council had listed JeM on October 17, 2001, as being associated with Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” or “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Azhar is also “a former leader of the terrorist group Harakat ul-Mujahidin /HuM, aka Harakat ul-Ansar; most of these groups’ members subsequently joined JeM under Azhar’s leadership,” it said.

“In 2008, JeM recruitment posters contained a call from Azhar for volunteers to join the fight in Afghanistan against Western forces,” the statement said.

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. (IANS)

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