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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

UNSC statement condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ Pulwama attack, names Jaish

The United Nations Security Council resolution was adopted unanimously by its permanent and non-permanent members, including China.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2019 21:39 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times

As the wait continued for France to introduce a motion to add Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Masood Azhar to a list of UN-designated terrorists, the security council on Thursday condemned the Pulwama attack in the “strongest terms” and called for holding accountable sponsors of terrorism.

Thursday’s condemnation was in a standard United Nations Security Council format that the body has issued for every terrorist strike it has condemned, allowing changes only to factor in country names, places and those responsible, Where an entity claimed responsibility credibly, the press statements name them, not otherwise.

Watch | Trying to get Masood Azhar on UN sanction list for two years: French Ambassador

It was not out of the ordinary for the statement to name JeM, which had claimed responsibility, and it merely acknowledged it as is the practice. The condemnation was not different from others issued before (click link to access UNSC statements:

Also read: US asks Pakistan to ‘freeze without delay’ the funds of designated terror groups, supports actions against JeM

“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, which resulted in over 40 Indian paramilitary forces dead and dozens wounded on February 14, 2019, for which Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has claimed responsibility,” the most powerful UN body said in a statement.

The UNSC statement was approved unanimously by its permanent and non-permanent members, including China. It contains specific language that India had proposed via partner countries, including the naming of JeM and bring the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack to justice. At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers were killed on February 14 in Pulwama in the worst suicide bombing in Kashmir by JeM, proscribed as a terror group since 2001 by the United Nations.

France is expected to move a proposal, along with the United States and the United Kingdom, to declare Azhar a terrorist subject to UNSC sanctions under Resolution 1267, which includes JeM, the outfit he founded. His designation has been blocked by China on the behalf of Pakistan, which hosts and shelters JeM, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist outfits, and uses them to advance its foreign policy objectives.

“The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of India and all other relevant authorities in this regard,” the UNSC said in its press statement.

And, it added, that the body “reiterates that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirm the need for all states to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”.

The Pulwama statement had not been posted on the UN website till late in the evening, causing some concern and confusion, and the UN media office sent earlier comments when contacted for a copy of the statement. The statement was later uploaded on the site.

The ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar beat them to it with a tweet with comments, erasing those concerns. “Pakistan comes under international pressure to act against terrorists & terror groups operating from areas under its control & to take action against those responsible for Pulwama attack. UNSC strongly condemns cowardly suicide bombing in #Pulwama by JeM,” he wrote.

The resolution came despite Pakistan’s efforts to pre-empt any such action by the world body. Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote a letter to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres on Monday, four days after the attack, asking for intervention in anticipation of retaliatory action by India.

“It is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating security situation in our region resulting from the threat of use of force against Pakistan by India,” Qureshi wrote.

The condemnation by the UNSC also comes just a day after Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi met top UN leaders, including Guterres and the Security Council president Anatolio Ndong Mba, briefing them about the escalating tensions in the region in the wake of the Pulwama attack.

The UNSC condemnation is a blow to Pakistan, coming on top of being named by the United States in multiple statements since the attack last Thursday, pointing directly to its complicity because of its support for terrorist groups operating from its soil across both the eastern border with India and across the one on its west, in Afghanistan.

France’s proposal at the UN to ban the head of JeM, when moved, will be fourth such bid at the UN in the past ten years. In 2009 and 2016, India moved the UN’s Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the airbase in Pathankot in January 2016.

India was joined by the P3 nations, the US, the UK and France, in the 2016 proposal. In 2017 also, these P3 countries moved a similar proposal at the UN. However, China, using its veto power, has always blocked the proposal from being adopted by the UN.

First Published: Feb 22, 2019 08:05 IST

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