China has blocked a move by India in the UN to seek action against Pakistan for the release from jail of LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, on the ground that New Delhi has not provided sufficient information.
During a meeting of the UN Sanctions Committee convened at India's request, a clarification was to be sought from Pakistan over Lakhvi's release while the Mumbai attacks trial was still underway but Chinese representatives blocked the move, official sources said.
In a letter to UN Sanctions Committee chairperson Jim McLay, India's permanent representative to the UN, Asoke Mukherjee, said last month that Lakhvi's release by a Pakistani court had violated UN Security Council resolution 1267 dealing with terrorist entities and individuals.
In the past too, Pakistan has banked on China to block moves in the UN Security Council against terrorist groups based in Pakistani territory.
This time round, the Chinese representatives blocked the move against Lakhvi on the ground that India did not provide “sufficient information”, the official sources said.
The sanctions under Security Council resolution 1267 apply to designated terrorist individuals and groups associated with Al Qaeda. China is among the five permanent members of the sanctions committee which also has 10 non-permanent members.
Lakhvi, 55, was released on bail from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on April 10 after the Lahore high court dismissed an order to detain him. The operations commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba has been living at an undisclosed location since then and has not been spotted in public.
A two-month deadline set by the Islamabad high court for an anti-terrorism court to conclude the trial of Lakhvi and six other suspects elapsed on June 13. Sources said the trial was progressing at a snail’s pace and there is little likelihood of it being concluded in the near future.
The US, Britain, Russia, France and Germany have expressed concern at Lakhvi’s release and Washington has called for him to be re-arrested.
Lakhvi, a close relative of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 on charges of planning and executing the attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. He was indicted with the other six suspects in November 2009.
(With agency inputs)