A committee of the United Nations Security Council approved the addition of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar’s name to its Da’esh and Al Qaida Sanctions List on Wednesday.
The decision was taken in accordance with resolutions 1267, 1989 and 2253, the international body wrote in its statement.
China, which had blocked Masood Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist four times, finally dropped its objections.
The decision means an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on Masood Azhar as set out in paragraph 1 of the Security Council resolution 2368 (2017) and adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.
The committee has made accessible on its website the narrative summary of reasons for listing of Azhar’s name. The statement reads:
Azhar founded Jaish-i-Mohammad upon his release from prison in India in 1999. Azhar was released from prison in exchange for 155 hostages held on an Indian Airlines flight that had been hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Azhar has also financially supported JEM since its founding.
The UN Security Council listed JEM on October 17, 2001, as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden, and the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” or “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.
Azhar is also a former leader of the terrorist group Harakat ul-Mujahidin aka Harakat ul-Ansar; most of these groups’ members subsequently joined JeM under Azhar’s leadership. In 2008, JEM recruitment posters contained a call from Azhar for volunteers to join the fight in Afghanistan against Western forces.
As well as Pakistan, JeM is also banned by the United Nations and India, while the US State Department lists it as a terrorist organisation.
However, Azhar has not been declared a terrorist before, despite New Delhi and others trying several times to get the UN Security Council to name him as one, with the move blocked each time by Pakistan’s ally China.