- Centre says Masood Azhar's listing not based on any specific incident
- Foreign ministry played down absence of reference to Pulwama in proposal
- Masood Azhar had been involved in many terror strikes in India
The foreign ministry today played down the absence of any reference to Pulwama in proposal for listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist" by the United Nations Security Council. The aim of the listing is tagging him a global terrorist, it is not exactly a bio-data, the ministry said.
"The Pulwama terror attack did play a role in the listing of Masood Azhar as global terrorist," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. But the designation is not based on any specific incident. Rather, it is the "on the basis of evidence which we have shared with the members of the sanctions committee linking Masood Azhar to several acts of terror," he added.
Besides the Pulwama suicide attack of February 14, in which 40 soldiers died, Masood Azhar had been involved in many terror strikes in India -- including on Parliament House, Pathankot Air Force base and the Army camps in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ministry's clarification came a day after Pakistan claimed that it agreed to the listing after removing "politically motivated attempts" to link the issue with the Pulwama attack. Islamabad has consistently rubbished any proof India cited that links Pakistan-based terror groups with attacks in India.
Last evening, in a big diplomatic win for India, Masood Azhar - whose terror group had accepted responsibility for the Pulwama attack -- was designated a global terrorist by the UN Security Council. The decision means a freeze on Masood Azhar's finances and assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo. The listing was made after China, which repeatedly put "technical hold" on the move, dropped its objections under international pressure. Most of the heavy lifting was done by the US, UK and France.
The three nations had pushed a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee days after the Pulwama attack. Though Pulwama was mentioned in the initial proposal, it was finally left out.
After the listing, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: "Congrats to our team @USUN for their work in negotiating JEM's Masood Azhar's #UN designation as a terrorist. This long-awaited action is a victory for American diplomacy and the international community against terrorism, and an important step towards peace in South Asia".