India slammed China for blocking a proposal to list Pakistani terror convict and Lashkar-e-Taiba/ Jamaat-ud-Dawa (LeT/JuD) deputy chief Abdul Rahman Makki as a UN Security Council-designated terrorist.
Calling the decision by China to place a “technical hold” on the listing requested by the United States and India this month “regrettable” and “extremely unfortunate”, India said that China’s actions ran counter to its claims of combating terrorism. It added that evidence against Makki was “overwhelming”.
“China should reflect on its response that signals double standards on combating terrorism. Protecting well-known terrorists from sanctioning in this manner will only undermine its credibility and risk exposing even itself more to the growing threat of terrorism,” government sources said, pointing to a similar blocking by China of the UNSC terror designation proposal against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar for several years, until Beijing agreed to his designation in 2019.
Beijing defends action
Defending its actions on Friday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted that it “opposes terrorism in all its manifestation”.
“The actions we take in the 1267 Committee in the UNSC always abide by relevant procedures and rules. China will continue to carry out work in a constructive and responsible attitude,” Chinese MFA spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.
Asked if the refusal to designate the LeT deputy chief would further strain India-China ties, Mr. Wang said China hoped that “India and China can work together and promote the relations to be more sound and stable”, without elaborating on the question.
On how the action squared up with the BRICS NSA meeting hosted by Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi on Wednesday, which committed to closer cooperation on combating terrorism, Mr. Wang said he had already shared China’s position quite clearly, adding, “I won’t go back to that”.
At the BRICS NSA meeting, Ajit Doval had specifically raised the need to cooperate on fighting terrorism “without reservations”.
China’s “technical hold” on adding Makki’s name to the UNSC list could hold up the process for up to six months, after which a new proposal would have to be introduced to designate him. The proposal to list Makki under the UN Security Council sanctions regime was circulated to all the members of the UNSC’s 1267 Committee under a “no-objection procedure” on June 1 with a deadline of 16 June, the sources said, indicating that China waited until the last possible day to raise objections to the listing.
According to the UNSC resolution on designating terrorists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, a designated terrorist cannot access funds, buy weapons or travel outside the jurisdiction. Pakistan has been held on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force for several years, including most recently since June 2018, for its failure to effectively prosecute and convict terrorists on the UNSC list, as it is obliged to.
Makki, who is the brother-in-law of LeT chief and convicted mastermind of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks Hafiz Saeed, is wanted for a number of cases of terrorism and terror-financing in India, and has been designated a wanted terrorist by the government.
The sources said he held a “leadership position” when the LeT carried out the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in 2008, the Red Fort Attack on 22 December, 2000, as well as several attacks on security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir in recent years.
He was arrested on terror financing charges by the Pakistani police in 2019, and convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison by a court in April 2021 along with other senior LeT/JuD leaders. However, later in the year, the men were acquitted by the Lahore High Court that cited lack of evidence presented by the prosecution.
Makki has also been on the U.S.’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists since 2010, and the U.S. announced a reward of up to $2 million for information that would help convict him in its “Rewards for Justice Program”, specifically castigating the “Pakistani judicial system [that] has released convicted LeT leaders and operatives in the past”.
(With inputs from Ananth Krishnan)