Pakistan says has no objection to UN blacklisting of Jaish-e-Mohammed founder

The head of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Masood Azhar. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 May 2019

Pakistan says has no objection to UN blacklisting of Jaish-e-Mohammed founder

  • “We’re going to enforce this decision forthwith,” Faisal said, referring to a travel ban and freeze on Azhar’s assets resulting from the blacklisting
  • Islamabad has accused India of attempting to use the UN committee in an unfair way

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Wednesday it has no objection to the decision by a UN Security Council committee to blacklist Masood Azhar, the head of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Azhar’s Pakistan-based group is accused of carrying out several high-profile attacks in India and Western powers for years have been calling for him to be sanctioned. China, a staunch ally of Pakistan, has repeatedly opposed the moves but dropped its objection to the blacklisting on Wednesday, ending a long diplomatic impasse.
“The listing in question has been under consideration of the Sanctions Committee for almost a decade,” said Mohammed Faisal, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Office. “Previous proposals did not meet the technical criteria as they included factors unrelated to the listing rules and were thus rejected.
“The recent listing proposal was presented on the basis of considerations beyond the listing parameters. As a result, a technical hold was placed by China to bring it in line with the listing criteria.”
Faisal said Islamabad had agreed to the blacklisting after it removed references to an attack on Feb. 14 in the Indian city of Pulwama, for which JeM claimed responsibility, and references linking it to the insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir, which Pakistan considers a struggle for self-determination.
“We’re going to enforce this decision forthwith,” Faisal said, referring to a travel ban and freeze on Azhar’s assets resulting from the blacklisting.
Islamabad has accused India of attempting to use the UN committee in an unfair way.
“Pakistan has always advocated the need for respecting these technical rules and regulations and has opposed the politicization of the Sanctions Committee,” he said. “Earlier proposals were aimed at maligning Pakistan and the legitimate struggle of the people of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”
Five previous attempts to blacklist Azhar were blocked by China, which is a permanent member of the Security Council and wields the power to veto any “substantive” resolution.
Azhar’s continued freedom in Pakistan has been a sore point in the relationship between Western countries and Islamabad. The latest attempt to sanction him began in February, when the US, Britain and France asked the Security Council’s Islamic State and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee to impose an arms embargo and travel ban on the JeM founder and freeze his assets. The move by the 15-member committee, which operates by consensus, was once again blocked by China.
The three nations stepped up their efforts in March by proposing a resolution that would have needed nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass. After further negotiations, they submitted a new sanctions request to the committee on Sunday, which was agreed on Wednesday.
“We support the listing issue being settled...through dialogue and consultation,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, on Tuesday, while the decision was still being discussed.
Following the attack in February in Kashmir, India carried out an aerial bombing mission in Pakistan, the first of its kind since the war between the countries in December 1971. Pakistan responded with an aerial bombardment the following day, and the two countries fought a brief dogfight in the skies over Kashmir. Tensions began to ease when Pakistan, amid pressure from global powers, returned an Indian pilot whose plane was shot down over Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Islamabad subsequently vowed to crack down on anti-India militants and other violent groups operating on its soil. It has shut down some madrassas linked to such organizations, and has placed relatives of Azhar in “protective custody.”


Man who spoke to Manchester bomber was ignored by security, inquiry hears

Updated 20 min 52 sec ago

Man who spoke to Manchester bomber was ignored by security, inquiry hears

  • Christopher Wild said he accosted Salman Abedi before he committed fatal terror attack
  • Salman Abedi would later detonate an explosive device inside Manchester Arena, killing 22 people

LONDON: A parent who spoke to a man he suspected was a terrorist at a music venue in the UK, before a fatal attack was carried out, has said his concerns were ignored by security.

Christopher Wild was at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017, to pick up his 14-year-old daughter and her friend after attending an Ariana Grande concert when he saw a man who he thought could “let a bomb off” with a rucksack hiding on a mezzanine.

The man, Salman Abedi, would later detonate an explosive device inside the arena, killing 22 people.

Wild was speaking at a public inquiry into the attack, which is taking evidence on events in the build up and aftermath of the tragedy.

He said he was waiting with his partner Julie Whitley and said: “I just thought he could be very dangerous.”

He said he had spotted Abedi with a rucksack, and his partner had said to him: “It’s a kids’ concert. Why should he be sat there with a massive rucksack out of sight of everyone? It’s just very strange.”

Wild added: “I started to think about things that happened in the world and I just thought he could be very dangerous.”

He said he addressed Abedi despite feeling “a bit bad” for thinking he might be a terrorist. Wild said he asked him: “It doesn’t look very good you know, what you see with bombs and such, you with a rucksack in a place like this. What are you doing?”

He said Abedi responded: “I’m waiting for somebody mate. Have you got the time? What time is it?”

Wild added that he then approached Mohammed Agha, an event steward at the venue who was in the foyer below the mezzanine.

“He (Agha) said he already knew about him. That was about it really,” Wild said. “It was as if he had more important things to deal with — but in no way do I blame him because the guy was already in there. There was nothing more he could do.”

Whitley was badly injured in the explosion. She told the inquiry that Abedi’s rucksack had caught her eye because it was “massive,” and she believed he might have been a “dodgy merchandiser.”