On May 1, a decade-long battle culminated with the branding of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations, amid the hotly contested general elections in India. Right after the announcement, India celebrated this huge diplomatic win.
Azhar’s designation as a global terrorist is viewed as another successful move by India to expose the ‘terror-heaven’ facet of Pakistan in front of the world. It is being foreseen that Azhar’s listing will force Pakistan to act against him and the JeM. This eventually means complete immobilisation of Azhar and closure of his terror company.
The recent official confirmation of Azhar’s presence in Pakistan solidifies India’s favour. In a recent interview to international television, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed that the mastermind behind a series of terror attack in India is in Pakistan.
“He is in Pakistan, according to my information. He is very unwell. He is unwell to the extent that he cannot leave his house because he is really unwell. That’s the information I have,” Qureshi said.
What does being designated a “global terrorist” mean?
The listing allows a series of bans that can be imposed on the designated terrorist under the United Nations. These are as follows:
Freeze Assets: With immediate effect, all member states of the UN are required to freeze funds, financial assets and other economic resources of the designated individuals or entities.
Travel Ban: The member states need to restrain the entry into or transit through their territories by the terrorist.
Arms Embargo: States will refrain from any direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material. The states members need to ensure that their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or their flag vessels or aircraft, are not being used for the purpose. This also includes blocking any military or arms-related technical advice, assistance, or training to the designated individual.
Chronology of major events leading to Azhar’s branding as ‘global terrorist’:
2009: India pushes the proposal to designate JeM chief as a global terrorist. China blocks the bid.
2016: India again moves the proposal with the backing of the P3 — the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Masood Azhar.
2017: The P3 nations move a similar proposal again. China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocks the proposal from being adopted.
February 27, 2019: The US, the UK and France move a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
March 13, 2019: China puts a technical hold on the proposal scuttling yet another attempt to blacklist the JeM chief. The proposal was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
March 28, 2019: The US, supported by France and the UK, directly moves a draft resolution in the UN Security Council to blacklist the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief.
April 3, 2019: China hits out at the US for threatening to use “all available resources” to designate the JeM chief as a “global terrorist”, saying Washington’s move was complicating the issue and not conducive to peace and stability in South Asia.
April 30, 2019: China says “some progress” has been achieved on designating Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN and hopes that the vexed issue will be “properly resolved”.
Does it mean we are a step closure in crippling a major terror figure?
The past, however, has a different narrative. On December 10, 2008, Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jammat–ud-Dawa (JuD) was banned by the United Nations Security Council following the ghastly 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed including international citizens. Despite the listing, Saeed still moves around freely in Pakistan.