UNSC’s sanctions committee blacklists LeT’s Makki after China lifts its hold

After lifting the ‘technical hold’, China says that the blacklisting was a ‘recognition’ of Pakistan’s fight against terrorism

January 17, 2023 08:46 am | Updated January 18, 2023 08:17 am IST - NEW DELHI/BEIJING

File picture of Abdur Rehman Makki, right, at a public meeting in Islamabad

File picture of Abdur Rehman Makki, right, at a public meeting in Islamabad | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The ISIL and Al Qaida Sanctions Committee of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) has placed Abdul Rehman Makki, a fundraiser and key planner of the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), on its sanctions list.

The move was made possible after China withdrew the “technical hold” that it had imposed last June, when the U.S. and India - then a non-permanent member at the UNSC - tried unsuccessfully to get Mr. Makki on the global terror blacklist. Beijing has now argued that the blacklisting is in fact a “recognition” of Pakistan’s record of fighting terrorism.

“Abdul Rehman Makki and other LET/JUD operatives have been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalizing youth to violence and planning attacks in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K),” said the Committee, explaining the reasons that prompted it to add Mr. Makki to the blacklist. The JuD or Jamaat-ul-Dawa is the parent body of the LeT.

China’s technical hold

During India’s two-year tenure at the UNSC, New Delhi put forth a total of five names for designation under the ISIL and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee including Abdul Rehman Makki (LeT), Abdul Rauf Asghar (Jaish-e-Mohammed), Sajid Mir (LeT), Shahid Mahmood (LeT), and Talha Saeed (LeT). All five faced a “technical hold” from China, while the other 14 members of the Security Council supported the listing.

“Terrorism is the common enemy of humanity. The 1267 Committee is an important international counterterrorism mechanism,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday, when asked about China’s U-turn and decision to lift its hold.

Also read: China foils bid to designate Lashkar deputy chief a terrorist

“The listing of terrorists or terror organisations is conducive to enhancing international counterterrorism cooperation in response to terrorist threats,” he added. “The relevant people have been convicted and sentenced by Pakistan. The listing also shows Pakistan’s firm combat against terrorism. It is a recognition.”

India and the United States have already listed Mr. Makki as a terrorist under their respective national laws and had jointly proposed that the UNSC’s Committee blacklist him on June 1, 2022. When China blocked the move, India had responded by terming the development “extremely unfortunate”.

Linked to multiple attacks

On Tuesday, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi welcomed the decision of the Committee and said, “Threats from terrorist organisations in the region remain high and listings and sanctions by the UNSC are an effective tool to curb such threats and dismantle terror infrastructure in the region. India remains committed to pursuing a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism and will continue to press the international community to take credible, verifiable and irreversible action against terrorism.”

In its rationale for adding Mr. Makki’s name to the list of globally sanctioned individuals, the Committee on January 16 cited seven terror attacks including the December 22, 2000 Red Fort attack, the January 1, 2008 Rampur attack, and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The Committee also linked Mr. Makki to the August 7, 2018 attack in Gurez that killed four Indian Army soldiers.

The Committee further said that Mr. Makki was the head of political affairs for the LeT and has served in the LeT’s foreign relations department and the Shura or governing body. “He is also a member of JUD’s Markazi (central) team and Daawati (proselytization) team,” said the Committee, highlighting that he is also the brother-in-law of Hafiz Saeed who is “wanted by the Indian Government” for his role in the 26/11 attacks.

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