The White House on Wednesday said the United Nations listing Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist demonstrates commitment to fighting terrorism in Pakistan, PTI reported.
“Designating Azhar demonstrates international commitment to rooting out terrorism in Pakistan and bringing security and stability to south Asia,” said spokesperson of National Security Council, White House, Garrett Marquis. “The US commends the United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee for the designation of Azhar, the leader of JeM, a UN-designated terrorist group that was responsible for the February 14 terrorist attack in Kashmir that killed over 40 Indian security personnel.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the move and called it a victory for American diplomacy. “Congrats to our team US at UN for their work in negotiating JEM’s Masood Azhar’s UN designation as a terrorist,” he said on Twitter. “This long-awaited action is a victory for American diplomacy and the international community against terrorism, and an important step towards peace in South Asia.”
The UN blacklisted Azhar after China lifted its 10-year “technical hold” on proposal moved by the US, Britain, France to ban the Jaish leader in February, two weeks after the Pulwama tragedy. Beijing on Wednesday said it lifted its veto after studying “revised material” submitted by relevant countries to the sanctions committee.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the Jaish-e-Mohammad has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and was a serious threat to regional stability.
“Today’s designation is an important step in promoting a peaceful and stable South Asia,” she said. “In line with this vision, we appreciate Pakistani Prime Minister [Imran] Khan’s stated commitment that Pakistan, for the sake of its own future, will not allow militant and terrorist groups to operate from its territory.”
Ortagus said the UN listing requires all UN member states to implement an asset freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Azhar. “We expect all countries to uphold these obligations,” she said.
Ortagus said the US looks forward to sustained action from Pakistan as outlined in its National Action Plan consistent with its international obligations.
Reacting to the blacklisting, Pakistan on Wednesday said it will “immediately enforce the sanctions” imposed on Azhar, Dawn reported. Pakistan said it agreed with the blacklisting of Azhar after “political references”, including those linking him with the Pulwama attack, were removed from the proposal.