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Removal of Pulwama reference: objective was Masood Azhar’s designation as terrorist, says MEA

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperon Raveesh Kumar briefs the media on May 2, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperon Raveesh Kumar briefs the media on May 2, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia  

“The designation is not based on the basis of a specific incident, but on the basis of evidence which we have shared with members of the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee”

India on Thursday reiterated that it would not negotiate with any country on terrorism and national security, saying the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist was the result of a sustained process started a decade ago during the UPA government.

“Our objective has been all along the naming of Azhar. The process started in 2009, in 2016 and 2017 it was continued. Designation was not on the basis of a single incident, but [was] on the basis of evidence we have shared linking Azhar to several acts of terrorism,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). He said India would maintain the international campaign against cross-border terrorists.

India demanded listing Azhar after the Pulwama attack of February 14 that New Delhi had traced to the Jaish-e-Mohammad which is led by Azhar. However, the May 1 announcement from the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council did not refer to the terror attack in its statement giving rise to speculation on whether the U.N. appreciated India’s immediate concerns about the role played by the JeM in cross-border acts of terrorism from Pakistan. The spokesperson reiterated that the aim of the campaign was to get Azhar designated as a global terrorist which had been achieved.

“There are elements being introduced to divert attention from the huge diplomatic setback that they have suffered. Frankly they have no choice,” he said explaining that the terror attack in Pulwama had played a role in the ultimate listing.

The MEA’s statement clarified that the listing resulted from years of terrorism and violent plots traced to Azhar who operates from Pakistan. India had claimed on February 26 that Air Force jets had bombed locations belonging to the Jaish. In compliance with the UN listing, Pakistan issued a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on Wednesday ordering freezing of financial assets belonging to Azhar. It also ordered travel ban and arms embargo on him.

India said Pakistan would be held responsible by the international community on the follow up actions it is expected to take after the U.N. listing. The MEA declared, “at the next FATF Plenary in June, Pakistan will be obligated to take action as per FATF procedures”.

The spokesperson however did not elaborate on the background diplomacy conducted by India to enable the listing. But it is widely acknowledged that the recent visit to Beijing by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale convinced China to remove its “hold” on the listing.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 7:02:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/removal-of-pulwama-reference-objective-was-masood-azhars-designation-as-terrorist-says-mea/article27012775.ece

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