China blocks India’s bid at U.N. to list LeT leader Shahid Mahmood as global terrorist

China blocks India’s bid at U.N. to list LeT leader Shahid Mahmood as global terrorist

This is the fourth time in as many months that China has put a hold on listing proposals to designate Pakistan-based terrorists under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee regime.

China once again blocked proposals by India and the United States to designate Pakistan-based terrorists on the UN Security Council’s 1267 list of terror entities. The listings for LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s son Talha Saeed and Shahid Mehmood, deputy chief of a front for the Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) named the Falah I Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), were made by New Delhi and Washington jointly, who submitted in the proposals that they are wanted for procuring funds and recruitment for the LeT/ JuD (Jamaat ud Dawa), the group behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and other terror attacks in India. China placed a hold on both in quick succession on Tuesday and Wednesday at the UNSC.

The moves came even as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited the memorial site for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and called for “global cooperation” on terror. Next week, India will host all members of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the UNSC, including China’s UN Ambassador, in Mumbai, where they will also visit the 26/11 memorial, as part of a number of events planned by the government to highlight India’s counter-terrorism efforts. China’s block also comes as the Financial Action Task Force plenary session got underway in Paris, which is likely this week to remove Pakistan from its grey list, where it has been under scrutiny since 2018 for failing to counter terror financing since.

Since June, China has similarly blocked other India-U.S. proposals for terror listings, including those of LeT deputy chief Abdur Rahman Makki and 26/11 terrorist handler Sajid Mir as well as Jaish-e-Mohammad deputy Rauf Asghar. In each of the cases, Beijing has said it needs “time” to study the details of the listing, and has refused to allow the designations to proceed in the absence of “sufficient evidence”, a move that New Delhi has called “politically motivated” and accused China of “double speak and double standards”.

Both Talha Saeed and Shahid Mehmood are designated terrorists in India by the Home Ministry’s “UAPA” terror list, and in the US on the US Treasury’s list for their role in the LeT’s top leadership. In its listing the MHA said that “Hafiz Talha Saeed” was involved in planning and executing attacks by the LeT in India and on “Indian interests in Afghanistan”, while the US Treasury has also listed him for heading the LeT’s media and propaganda operations in Pakistan.

In particular, Shahid Mehmood is accused in a terror funding case filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of along with LeT founder Hafiz Saeed “hatching a conspiracy” to build “sleeper cells” in Delhi and Haryana under the cover of religious and charity work and education projects. Shahid Mehmood was also listed on India’s most wanted UAPA terrorist list (No. 17) in 2020.

In addition, in 2016 the U.S. Department of Treasury had designated Shahid Mehmood (Mahmood) and Muhammad Sarwar as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) and placed sanctions on them for their terror activities in the Lashkar-e-Taiba, noting that apart from his involvement in conspiracies to target India, Shahid Mehmood was in charge of the group’s international operations, including in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Syria, Turkey and Gaza.

The Ministry of External Affairs did not comment on China’s decisions, and officials said its previous statements on the issue remain valid. Speaking at a high-level meeting at the UNSC in September, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had slammed China for the series of decisions blocking UNSC terror listing. “Regrettably, we have seen this of late in this very chamber, when it comes to sanctioning some of the world’s most dreaded terrorists. If egregious attacks committed in broad daylight are left unpunished, this council must reflect on the signals we are sending on impunity. There must be consistency if we are to ensure credibility,” he said.

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