New Delhi: A day after China agreed to the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by the UN Security Council sanctions committee, the Indian government on Thursday, in response to questions by the media, made it clear that it had not entered into any kind of “deal” or “offer” with any country on the Masood Azhar issue, saying: “India does not negotiate with any country on the issue of terrorism and matters relating to the security of the country”. On criticism from certain quarters on why mention of the Pulwama terror attack was not included in the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee resolution naming Azhar a global terrorist, the external affairs ministry said the “designation is not based on a specific incident but on the basis of the evidence shared with the members of the 1267 Sanctions Committee linking Masood Azhar to terrorism”, and that it “broadly covers all terror activities he has been involved in”, including the Pulwama attack. India also said Pakistan had suffered a “huge diplomatic setback” with the listing of Azhar. “They (Pakistan) can’t welcome or criticise the decision ... They are trying to pick holes (in the case) that don’t exist,” the MEA spokesperson said.
The MEA said “the UN notification very clearly states that Masood Azhar was listed for participating in the financing, planning, facilitating and perpetrating terrorist activities associated with JeM”. The MEA noted that the “notification is not supposed to be a bio-data of the terrorist, and include all acts of terrorism perpetrated by him”. It may be recalled that the UN Security Council (including China) passed a resolution in February this year acknowledging the JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.
On Thursday, the MEA termed the latest position taken by China as a “very welcome step”, and also mentioned the “Wuhan spirit” between the two countries.
The MEA spokesperson said: “Please understand that our objective all along has been the designation of Masood Azhar as a terrorist. This process started in 2009 when the Pulwama terror attack had not taken place. The designation is not based on a specific incident but on the basis of the evidence shared with members of the 1267 Sanctions Committee linking Masood Azhar to terrorism. In the UN notification, it very clearly states that Masood Azhar was listed for participating in the financing, planning, facilitating and perpetrating terrorist activities associated with JeM. This broadly covers all terror activities he has been involved in. The notification is not supposed to be a bio-data of the terrorist and include all acts of terrorism perpetrated by him.”
On the steps expected to be taken by Pakistan, the MEA said: “This information is in the public domain. According to the Sanctions Committee, Pakistan and all other states are required to freeze the funds and other financial assets of Masood Azhar. There will be a travel ban on the individual. There will also be an arms embargo to prevent direct or indirect supply of arms to the individuals. Pakistan is responsible to the international community to take such actions as demanded by the UN Sanctions Committee.”
On the impact of the designation of Masood Azhar on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey listing of Pakistan, a government source said: “The last FATF plenary in February 2019 decided to continue to keep Pakistan in the Grey List for ICRG (International Cooperation Review Group) Monitoring. If you go through the press statement by FATF, one of the action plan specifically mentions that Pakistan has to demonstrate effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services. At the next FATF plenary in June, Pakistan will be obligated to take action as per FATF procedures.” FATF is a global inter-governmental body to combat terror financing.