India says huge setback for Pakistan

India dismissed Pakistan's effort to gloss over the “huge diplomatic setback” it suffered with the United Nations Security Council sanctioning Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.

Hours after the UNSC imposed sanctions on the JeM chief, Pakistan claimed that it had agreed to let it happen after all “political references”, including attempts to link him to the February 14 attack on paramilitary forces in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir had been removed from the proposal.

New Delhi, however, trashed the claim, saying that its objective of getting UNSC designate Azhar as a terrorist had been achieved. “Pakistan is mischievously attempting to salvage something out of this huge diplomatic setback for them by diverting the narrative,” said a source in New Delhi.

“The process of listing started in 2009. Since then, several efforts have been made to list Masood Azhar. This was much before Pulwama terror attack took place,” he said

New Delhi pointed it out that Pulwama happened to be the latest act of terror but the designation was not based on a specific incident but on the basis of evidence shared with members of the 1267 Sanctions Committee linking Azhar to terrorism. It is not supposed to be a bio-data of a terrorist that all acts of terror committed by him would be listed in the notification. However, all acts of terrorism, including Pulwama, were relevant to the UNSC decision to sanction him, added the source.

Azhar was sanctioned by the UNSC for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material to”, “recruiting for”, “otherwise supporting acts or activities of”, and “other acts or activities indicating association with” Jaish-i-Mohammed.

Pakistan foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said Islamabad would "immediately enforce the sanctions" imposed on Azhar.

"Formal action will be taken on three counts: travel ban, arms embargo and travel restrictions. That is the requirement...Pakistan is a responsible state and we will take appropriate action," PTI quoted Faisal.

The spokesman said Islamabad rejected earlier proposals to list Azhar as terrorist as those efforts had a political agenda and aimed at maligning Pakistan.

"Pakistan maintains that terrorism is a menace to the world... the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee listing is governed by clear rules and its decisions are taken through consensus... Pakistan has always advocated the need for respecting these technical rules and has opposed the politicisation of the committee," Faisal said.

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