In a big diplomatic win for India, Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was designated a "global terrorist" by the United Nations Security Council today after China removed its objections. Masood Azhar, 50, is the mastermind behind several attacks on India, including the 2001 Parliament attack and February's Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.
A UN Security Council tag subjects Masood Azhar, 50, to assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo.
The proposal to designate Masood Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, UK and the US on February 27. It was the fourth attempt at the UN in the last 10 years to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
The UN had banned the Jaish-e Mohammed in 2001. But India's efforts to ban Masood Azhar after the Mumbai terror attack was not successful as China repeatedly blocked the move.
Masood Azhar, who used a Portuguese passport to enter India through Bangladesh and reach Jammu and Kashmir and then established contact with terrorist groups, was arrested in February 1994 at Anantnag in south Kashmir.
He had reportedly bragged in jail that the authorities would not be able to keep him in custody as he was very important to Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI agency.
At one point, Masood Azhar and other terrorists dug an escape tunnel, and when the moment came, Azhar insisted on going first, news agency AFP reported, quoting a security official. "But he got stuck in the narrow tunnel because of his bulky physique and the whole attempt was thwarted," the official said.
Masood Azhar and two other terrorists were released by India in 1999 in exchange for the passengers held hostage on board IC-814 flight hijacked to Kandahar in Afghanistan. The three terrorists were freed after negotiations with the hijackers failed.
Masood Azhar formed Jaish-e-Mohammed after his release from jail.
The Jaish-e Mohammed has carried out many terror attacks in India; it was involved in the attack on Parliament, the Pathankot air force base and army camps in Jammu and Uri.
Jaish had also claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama suicide attack. Days later, India carried out airstrikes at a Jaish camp in Balakot in Pakistan, which was followed by an aerial dogfight with the Pakistan Air Force, which had targeted Indian military installations.
(With inputs from agencies)