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Big action against Maulana Masood Azhar in the offing

By Anuj Cariappa
|

Islamabad, Mar 04: Pakistan may take "decisive action" against all proscribed organisations, including Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM), and even withdraw its opposition to the move to list terror outfit's chief Masood Azhar in the UN Security Council terror list, according to a media report on Sunday.

Maulana Masood Azhar

The US, the UK and France on Wednesday moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based chief Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo.

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In a major policy decision, Pakistan is set to take decisive action against all proscribed organisations as well as against the head of banned JeM, a senior security official familiar with the development quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.

It is not clear what specific action would be taken against Azhar but the official hinted that Pakistan may withdraw its opposition to the listing of JeM chief as global terrorist by the UN Security Council.

"The state has to decide whether individual is important or the larger national interest of the country," the official said when asked if Pakistan would no more oppose the UNSC action against Azhar.

The Security Council Sanctions Committee will consider within 10 days on the fresh proposal moved by the three permanent veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council.

The proposal is the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

In 2009, India moved a proposal to designate Azhar, whose UN-proscribed JeM claimed responsibility for the suicide attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14 in which over 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.

In 2016 again, India moved the proposal with the P3 - the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the air base in Pathankot in January, 2016.

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In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee. The official, however, insisted that the move to take action against such individuals was taken before the Pulwama attack, the report said.

He also clarified that Pakistan's decision to act decisively was taken not to give any "face saving" to India. "We need to correct ourselves in our own national interests and not someone else's," the official was quoted as saying in the report.

The official further said that Pakistani authorities had conducted investigations into the Pulwama terror attack on CRPF personnel in and found "no evidence whatsoever of any involvement of Pakistan or any organisation in it".

Stressing that the country's leadership was determined to take action against anyone found involved in the Pulwama attack, he said the dossier shared by India with Pakistan had nothing in it that suggested involvement of any Pakistani organisation.

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