New Delhi: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has hailed the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish e Mohammed group chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a terrorist under UN norms as a "a victory for American diplomacy."
In a Twitter post, Pompeo congratulated the US team at the UN, which according to all accounts, did the heavy lifting to ensure that Azhar was designated a terrorist under the rules of the 1267 UN sanctions committee.
"Congrats to our team @USUN for their work in negotiating JEM's Masood Azhar's #UN designation as a terrorist. 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," Pompeo said in his post.
Designating the Jaish chief a global terrorist is a big diplomatic win for India, which had relentlessly pursued the matter with its international allies. The task was accomplished when China relented and dropped its technical hold on a French proposal to ban Azhar at the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee.
Azhar’s listing as a terrorist comes two decades after he and two others were released from Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail in exchange for the 160 passengers on board the Indian Airlines IC 814 aircraft, which was hijacked on its way from Kathmandu to New Delhi in December 1999.
India’s first attempt to get Azhar listed as a terrorist at the UN came in 2009, seven years after his JeM group was designated a terrorist outfit by the UN. The UN action came after the JeM joined hands with the Lashkar-e-Taiba to launch an attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001.
Since 2016, New Delhi has made concerted efforts to get Azhar named a terrorist following a series of attacks on Indian military installations in Kashmir, all of which were blamed on his group.
On Wednesday, the US said the blacklisting of Azhar demonstrated the international community’s resolve to root out terrorism in Pakistan.
A statement from the US mission to the UN in New York said the listing of Azhar required “ all UN member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Azhar. We expect all countries to uphold these obligations."
“We appreciate Pakistani Prime Minister (Imran) Khan’s stated commitment that Pakistan, for the sake of its own future, will not allow the operation of militant and terrorist groups from its territory. We recognize initial steps taken by the Government of Pakistan in this regard. We look forward to further and sustained actions from Pakistan as outlined in its National Action Plan, and consistent with its international obligations," the US statement said.
A 'PTI' report from Washington overnight quoted an unnamed White House official as saying that it was after 10 years that China had done the right thing by lifting its blockade.
"I think China seems to have understood that it was increasingly important that it's actions on the international stage on terrorism matched it's rhetoric," 'PTI' quoted the White House official as saying. The 14 February Pulwama suicide attack, the official said, was just the latest in the terrorist attacks that this "deadly group" had conducted.
Keeping up the international pressure to designate Masood Azhar a global terrorist, the US, supported by France and the UK, had moved a draft resolution directly in the UN Security Council to blacklist him. The move came after China stalled a French proposal to ban Azhar in March after the Pulwama attack.
China, which had blocked moves to blacklist Masood Azhar four times, finally dropped its objections saying it "found no objection after a careful study of revised materials".