People involved in terror attacks should not just be blacklisted but tried and punished, and if there is evidence against the Jaish-e Mohammed and its leader Masood Azhar, he must be listed as a global terrorist at the UN, Saudi Arabia said today. In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, said the Saudi-Pakistan joint statement, which referred to "the need for avoiding the politicisation of the UN listing regime" was not a reference to Masood Azhar.
The Pakistan-based terror group has taken responsibility for Thursday's attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, in which 40 securitymen died.
"Our policy on listing individuals is very clear, if someone is engaged in terrorism, if someone belongs to a terror organisation that is responsible for murdering people, if somebody fiances terrorism or recruits for terrorism, that person is implicated in terrorism and ought to be punished and if you can't capture that person, he or she has to be designated so that they cannot roam the world freely and when they are captured, they are brought to justice," said Adel Aljubeir, who is part of the delegation accompanying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The prince is in India after a two-day visit to Pakistan, amid an escalation of tension between Delhi and Islamabad following the attack.
Asked if India needs to provide more evidence on the involvement of Jaish and Masood Azhar in terror attacks in the country, the minister said, it is an "ongoing dialogue" both with Saudi Arabia and the other members of the international community.
Ahead of the Saudi visit, there was criticism in India about a joint statement issued during the Crown Prince's visit to Pakistan. In what was seen as an apparent reference to India's effort to include list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under UN rules, the statement read that the Crown Prince and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had "underlined the need for avoiding politicisation of UN listing regime".
There has also been criticism about the 20 billion dollar investment Saudi Arabia has promised to Pakistan.
Today, while the Crown Prince, in an address to the media, mentioned that terrorism and extremism are a "common concern" and Saudi Arabia will "cooperate with India and neighbouring states", there was disappointment that Pulwama, Jaish or Pakistan was not named.
"We were one of the first countries to very strongly condemn the terrorist attack," the Saudi minister said. "We have very good relations with India in terms of counter terrorism, we have good relations with India when it comes to exchanging information against terrorists -- including information that led to stopping terrorist attacks," he added.
With regards to the listing issue, "originally it had to do with the financial issues that involve FATF and then I guess FATF was taken and it was read like this so I don't believe that it pertains specifically to the issue that you mentioned," said Adel Aljubeir.
Underscoring the need for reopening of dialogue with Islamabad, the minister said, "Pakistan is an important country to Saudi Arabia and India is important to Saudi Arabia and so it pains us to see conflict between two countries that we believe to be two friendly countries. We believe that instability in this part of the world is danger to rest of the world".
Asked if Saudi Arabia believes that Pakistan is doing enough to take action against those terror groups that operate from their territory that target India, the minister said, "I haven't looked into this issue because that's not what we do in the foreign ministry, we are diplomats... we are not law enforcement or security people, but I would expect that every country in the world should do everything it can to go after the terrorists".