UN chief follows up on US’ harsh report on Pak-backed terror with a polite reminder
It was rare for the US to have directly accused the Imran Khan government of not only looking the other way but also point that terrorists such as Masood Azhar and Sajjid Mir had been provided state protection.Updated: Jun 25, 2020 15:54 IST
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expects all member states to “live up” to their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions, his spokesperson said after a US State Department report classified Pakistan as a “safe haven” for terrorists.
The US report had also underscored that Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Masood Azhar and 2008 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Sajid Mir were “widely believed” to be living “under the protection of the state” in Pakistan. The report mirrors concerns expressed by New Delhi on numerous occasions about Pakistan’s complicity in sponsoring, promoting or supporting terrorists operating from its territory
The UN chief’s spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that the UN Secretary General’s office wouldn’t comment on the US report. But he went ahead to deliver his message nonetheless.
“Obviously, as a matter of principle, we do expect all member states to live up to their obligations as laid out in any relevant Security Council resolution or Security Council decision,” Stéphane Dujarric told a media briefing in Washington, according to news agency Press Trust of India.
At last count, Pakistan is home to 130 entities in the United Nations Security Council’s 1267 Sanctions List.
But several UNSC Sanctions monitoring teams have noted that Islamabad hasn’t acted against most of them. Like when Islamabad told a visiting UNSC team in March this year that they had not been able to even identify or locate most of the 130 designated terrorists.
According to counter-terror officials in Delhi, Pakistan acknowledges the presence of only 19 terrorists sanctioned by the UNSC on its territory including Jaish founder Masood Azhar who was designated global terrorist only in May last year, 10 years after India first pushed to have him blacklisted. The US had designated Azhar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2010.
The latest state department report noted that Pakistan had made “no effort to use domestic authorities to prosecute” terrorist figures such as Azhar and Lashkar operative Sajjid Mir.
Sajjid Mir had ordered Ajmal Kasab’s team of terrorists to kill the Israeli couple in Chabad House during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The United States has pushed Pakistan for long through threats and appeals to arrest and prosecute terrorists sheltered there. In the state department’s 2019 country reports on terrorism released Wednesday, it had welcomed the prosecution of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba, in 2019, along with 12 associates but underlined there were many others who had been left out.
Hafiz Saeed’s arrest and prosecution, for the ninth time, in 2019, had come under intense global pressure as Pakistan faced the possibility of being blacklisted at the initiative of the US by a global watchdog on terror financing and money-laundering, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force.
Pakistan narrowly escaped then, but has remained in the dock, as the US terror report reminded. “The FATF expressed serious concern at its October 2019 plenary about Pakistan’s continued deficiencies but noted it had made some progress and extended the deadline for full Action Plan implementation to February 2020.” A final call is expected later in the year, in October.