The members of the United Nations Security Council on Monday called the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist a “significant achievement”. The international body hailed the member nations in ensuring that perpetrators, organisers, and sponsors of terrorism are held accountable.
On May 1, the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council had blacklisted Azhar after China lifted its veto. The designation involves an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban. Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed was behind the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 jawans were killed on February 14.
“We are pleased that this month, the 1267 Committee designated Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and ISIL-Khorasan, a dangerous ISIS affiliate operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for UN sanctions,” said Acting Permanent Representative of the US to the United Nations, Ambassador Jonathan Cohen. He made the remarks at a semi-annual briefing of the Security Council.
“Azhar’s listing shows that the international community can and will hold terrorists accountable for their actions,” the statement said. Last week, the Sanctions Committee also included the ISIL-Khorasan, a terrorist group also known as the “ISIL’s South Asia Branch”, in the sanctions list. The group has been responsible for various attacks on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The designation of ISIS-Khorasan demonstrates the Committee’s commitment to ensuring that ISIS affiliates do not take up the mantle of a diminished ISIS core,” Cohen said. “In this vein, it is important that the Committee designate other ISIS affiliates who seek to replicate the destruction wrought in Iraq and Syria in new corners of the world. We commend our Security Council colleagues for supporting these important designations.”
Germany and Poland, who had also co-sponsored the proposal to blacklist Azhar, also called it a significant achievement. “It was a good signal, good sign for the work of this Committee that we were able earlier to have the listing of Masood Azhar,” United Nation’s German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen said at the meeting, PTI reported.
“We welcome progress achieved and encourage all States to work together in order to hold perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of acts of terrorism accountable,” said Joanna Wronecka, Poland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
China’s representative Yao Shaojun also said that the Sanctions Committee is an important counter-terrorism sanctions system of the United Nations and the Security Council. After UNSC’s designation of Azhar, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had said that the country lifted the veto after a careful study of the “revised materials”. China has repeatedly blocked attempts by the UNSC to blacklist Azhar.
Cohen also said that the 1267 Committee must adapt in order to tackle the “evolving threat”. “ISIS and Al Qaida are dynamic organizations, evolving with the pressure the international community brings to bear on them,” he said. “The 1267 Committee must continue to keep up its pace to adapt to the evolving threat.”
A day before Azhar’s listing, the United States had said that the terror mastermind meets the criteria of a global terrorist. It also said that failure to blacklist Azhar would affect regional stability and peace.