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Masood Azhar Listed as a Global Terrorist

  • 02 May 2019
  • 5 min read

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar was listed as a designated global terrorist by the UN Security Council 1267 Committee on 2nd May ’19. Significantly, the reasons for listing did not mention the Pulwama attack of February 14, for which the JeM had claimed responsibility.

Reasons for Sanctions against Azhar

  • His support for the JeM since its founding.
  • Being associated with the Al-Qaeda by recruiting for them and participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating terror acts.
  • His role in recruiting fighters in Afghanistan.
  • The terrorist organisation, Jaish-e-Mohammad, which was headed by Masood Azhar has itself been sanctioned by the 1267 Committee in 2001.

Previous Efforts

  • In 2009, India moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
  • In 2016 again, India moved the proposal with the P3 – the U.S., the U.K. and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the air base in Pathankot in January, 2016.
  • In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the sanctions committee.
  • Recently, the P3 group, had co-sponsored a listing request at the 1267 Committee on Feb 27, after the Pulwama attack that killed over 40 security personnel. This attempt failed again because of China placing a hold on the request.
  • Thereafter, U.S. circulated a draft resolution directly among the UNSC members, i.e., outside the 1267 Committee, to pressure China into either supporting the listing or having to take a stand in open proceedings and risk being seen as supporting terror.
  • China, after this, did not raise any objections, thereby paving the way for successful sanctions against Masood Azhar.

Significance of the UNSC Listing

  • It is a victory for India in a decade-old diplomatic battle waged primarily by it and supported by U.S., UK and France at the UNSC towards continuous efforts on fight against terrorism.
  • A UNSC designation will subject Azhar to an asset freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo, thereby restricting his activities globally.
  • An asset freeze under the sanctions committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.
  • It demonstrates the international community’s resolve to fight against terrorism and “its enablers”.
  • The U.S. has further sought "sustained actions" from Pakistan against terrorism, consistent with its international obligations.

UNSC Committee 1267

  • In 1999, the UNSC Committee was established pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999), which imposed a limited air embargo and asset freeze on the Taliban. Over time, measures became a targeted asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against designated individuals and entities.
  • On 17th June 2011, after the adoption of resolution 1988 (2011), the Committee split into two.
    • The 1267 Committee was henceforth known as the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, mandated to oversee implementation of the measures against individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaida.
    • A separate Committee was established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) to oversee implementation of the measures against individuals and entities associated with the Taliban.
  • On 17th December 2015, the UNSC adopted resolution 2253 (2015) to expand the listing criteria to include individuals and entities supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
  • The Committee currently comprises all 15 members of the Security Council and makes its decision by consensus. The current Chair of the Committee, for the period ending 31st December 2019, is Indonesia. The two Vice-Chairs for 2019 are the Russian Federation and Peru.
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