Masood Azhar has been listed as a designated terrorist by the UN Security Council. He eluded from being designated terrorist by UNSC for 20 years.
Role of Masood Azhar
He was released in 1999 in exchange for hostages after the IC-814 hijack. He has lead Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) which carried out dozens of deadly attacks in India, including the Parliament attack of 2001, Pathankot airbase attack in 2016 and the 2019 Pulwama police convoy bombing.
Dealing with China
China has vetoes Azhar from being listed as terrorist three times between 2009 and 2017. Recently, China vetoed proposal moved by U.S., U.K., and France after Pulwama attack. Still the Ministry of External Affairs kept on dealing continuously with China.
What are the issues left in listing?
There is much disappointment over the final listing released by the Security Council. There is no mention of Azhar’s role in any of the attacks against India, even reference to Pulwama is missing.
Previous actions by Pakistan
Pakistan’s actions against others on the 1267 list have been far from effective. Hafiz Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba chief, roams free, addresses rallies, and runs a political party and several NGOs without any government restrictions.
LeT’s operations commander Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi was granted bail some years ago despite the UNSC sanctions mandating that funds and assets to the sanctioned individuals must be frozen.
What is required from India?
It will take constant focus from New Delhi, and a push from the global community, to ensure that Masood Azhar is not just starved of funds, arms and ammunition as mandated, but that he is prosecuted in Pakistan for the acts of terror he is responsible for.
Pressure from FATF
Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force will also be watching Pakistan’s next moves closely, ahead of a decision, that could come as early as in June, on whether to “blacklist” Pakistan or keep it on the “greylist”. Both financial and political pressure should be maintained on Islamabad to bring the hard-fought designation of Masood Azhar to its logical conclusion.
(Adapted from The Hindu)