Despite UN sanctions, Azhar may still live free in Pak

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.

Masood Azhar may still live free in Pakistan as the United Nations Security Council's sanction on the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief does not put Imran Khan's Government in Islamabad under any legal obligation to put him behind bars or prosecute him.

As a committee of the UN Security Council on Wednesday designated him as an individual linked to the Al Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant or Daesh, the 51-year-old radical cleric has now come under full-spectrum global sanctions – asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. But the radical cleric, who founded the JeM in early 2000, may still live free at his hometown in Bahawalpur in Pakistan.

Imran Khan's government in Islamabad however will have to immediately freeze the JeM chief's “funds and other financial assets or economic resources”. If any asset in any other country is found to be owned by the radical cleric, it will also come under the freeze as all UN member states have the obligation to implement the sanctions imposed by the Security Council.

Khan's Government will also have to make sure that Azhar cannot procure any weapon or spare parts of weapon or technical advice, assistance and training related to military activities from any individual or entity based in Pakistan. The other UN member nations will also have to ensure that no individual or entity based in their territory can sell weapons to the JeM chief.

Islamabad does not have any obligation to stop Azhar from leaving or arriving in or being in transit through Pakistan, since he is a citizen of Pakistan. But all other UN member states are now “required to prevent the entry” of the radical cleric into their territories or “his transit through their territories”.

The officials in New Delhi, however, have doubts how effectively Pakistan Government would implement the UN sanctions on the JeM chief. The JeM itself was sanctioned by the UNSC on October 7, 2001. However, the organisation's name cropped up during many terrorists attacks that took place in India.

The UNSC in the past had banned Hafiz Saeed and his organization Lashkar-e-Tayyiba as well as several other individuals and entities based in Pakistan. Saeed, however, continues to live free in Lahore in Pakistan.

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