Masood Azhar

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On May 1, 2019, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) put Jaish e Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar to its list of ‘global terrorists’ after China lifted its objections on a proposal to blacklist him, a decade after New Delhi approached the world body for the first time on the issue.

A veto-wielding permanent member of the UNSC, China was the sole hold-out in the 15-nation body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking attempts by placing a “technical hold” and asking for “more time to examine” the proposal. As such China had earlier blocked three consecutive attempts whereby Azhar would have been declared as a “terrorist” by the United Nations sanction committee.

India pushed up its ante against Azhar diplomatically after the February attack in Pulwama’s Lethapora. In the attack more than 40 CRPF personnel were killed; the JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack; it had led to a spike in tensions between the archrivals.

Masood Azhar

Azhar founded JeM in 1999. In one of the high profile cases in aviation history, an Air India plane was hijacked on way to New Delhi from Kathmandu; Masood Azhar was one of the three militants demanded to be released from an Indian prison in exchange for freeing the hostages, who were 150 in number. Subsequently, Azhar was freed by the Indian government in a decision criticised by many. Earlier Azhar had been arrested by the Indian Security agencies from Anantnag.

Azhar is said to have formed JeM with the support of the then al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and the Afghan Taliban.

Under the recent decision of blacklisting him, Azhar, considered as the founder of JeM, will be subject to an assets freeze. Moreover, apart from imposing a travel ban on him, he is also banned from selling or purchasing arms and ammunition.

The sanctions committee has accused Azhar of “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” carried out by JeM.

– Umar Mukhtar

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