China blocks listing of Lashkar ‘commander’ Sajid Mir at UNSC

China blocks listing of Lashkar ‘commander’ Sajid Mir at UNSC

This is Beijing’s third attempt in three months

For the third time in three months, China blocked a joint India-U.S. attempt to put a Pakistan-based terrorist on the UN Security Council’s 1267 list, placing a hold on the proposal to add Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘commander’ Sajid Mir, who is wanted for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, as well as attacks in the U.S. and Denmark.

Mir is presently lodged in a Pakistan jail after being convicted of terror financing at a hurried trial earlier this year.

The move on Thursday in New York came even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, where the Eurasian grouping had agreed to take strong and consolidated action against terrorism in the region

India has in the past criticised China for its “double standards” and for being “two-faced” on the issue of terrorism for consistently stopping the listing of Pakistan-based terrorists on the UNSC 1267 list, despite the fact that the groups they belong to were listed decades ago.

At the SCO meeting on Friday, President Xi had, in his address, spoken about the need for concerted action on terrorism by the eight members of the grouping. The SCO members consist of India, Pakistan, China, Russia and four Central Asian states.

Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra had said that PM Modi had also raised the issue during the restricted meetings with the leaders in Samarkand and agreed to a new “unified list” of terrorists, separatists and extremist organisations.

“I must mention that each of the SCO member state was very, very clear in recognising the threat that this challenge poses to our region and through across the membership of the SCO,” Mr. Kwatra said.

Mir’s case has been particularly egregious as despite him being on India’s UAPA most wanted list, and the U.S. FBI’s most wanted list , he has not been placed on the UNSC’s list yet.

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In the 26/11 attacks trial, Mir was identified as having recruited and trained the attackers, including Ajmal Kasab, sending David Headley to Mumbai to carry out reconnaissance operations, and directing the killings during the three-day siege of Mumbai, particularly at Chabad House.

As The Hindu had reported in June, the discrepancy had been pointed out as pressure mounted on Pakistan to crackdown further on terror groups in order to allow a reprieve from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which pursues actions against UNSC 1267-listed terrorists worldwide.

Mir is also wanted for his involvement in the attack on a Danish newspaper over blasphemous cartoons, attacks on Australian nuclear and military installations, procuring weapons, and recruiting terrorists in France and the U.S., where the “Virginia Paintball Jihad” case involved training LeT operatives at a paintball facility.

Pakistani officials who had until December 2021 insisted that Mir had died turned around earlier this year, submitting to the FATF that he had been arrested, convicted within weeks and sentenced to three terms under Pakistan’s Anti-Terror Act (ATA, 1997), including six months for being a member of the proscribed organisation LeT; eight years for providing financing and property to the organisation; and another seven years for knowingly providing support to the organisations for terrorist activity.

Despite the agreement, the Chinese government moved to block the listing on the UNSC list, leading to some questions over how much it would adhere to a similar procedure at the SCO.

According to officials, the U.S. had made the proposal, co-sponsored by India, at the beginning of September, just as they had proposed to list LeT deputy chief Abdur Rahman Makki in June, and Jaish-e-Mohammad deputy chief Rauf Asghar.

In each of the cases, Beijing has moved to place a hold on the procedure, which can stop each listing for up to six months, followed by an extensions of another six months, after which it can choose to accept or permanently block the proposal. The listing mandates countries to ensure that the named terrorist is prosecuted, and does not have access to funds, weapons or travel out of their jurisdiction.

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