NEW DELHI The Congress Wednesday welcomed the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by the UN, but expressed disappointment that the listing “does not mention Pulwama and Jammu and Kashmir” while recounting his role in “terror activities”.
The Congress said it expected the Modi government to act with a “greater speed” in pursuing the case with China as several precious lives in deadly attacks like Pulwama could have been avoided.
The Modi government should now push for a declaration of bounty on Azhar’s head as was ensured by the UPA in the case of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, the Congress said.
In a major diplomatic win for India, the United Nations designated Pakistan-based Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on a proposal by the US, UK and France to blacklist him.
“Azhar’s “belated” declaration as a global terrorist by UN is surely a welcome step and India’s fight against terrorism is resolute and the entire nation is one in fighting the menace,” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.
“Designation as a global terrorist is just the first step and all his sources of funding need to be stopped,” he said.
The entire property and terror fund need to be taken over by international agencies, Surjewala said.
“We are disappointed that UN listing doesn’t mention Pulwama/J&K while listing Azhar’s role in terrorist activities,” he tweeted.
The Congress demanded that the Modi government should pursue a complete international ban on Jaish-e-Mohammad and also ensure that other members of JeM are similarly blacklisted by the UN.
It also demanded that the Modi government should pursue the blacklisting of Pakistan as a “terrorist state” by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“We expected Modi government to act at a greater speed in pursuing declaration of Masood Azhar, but after agenda-less visit of PM Modi to China (Wuhan Summit) they did not push for this case with China in the entire period of 2018,” Surjewala alleged.
“Several precious lives in terror attacks like Pulwama could have been avoided if Modi government had pushed international community, including China to agree, to declare Masood Azhar as international terrorist,” he said.
Surjewala alleged that history is dotted with BJP’s compromise of national security in tackling terrorism, which is reflected in actions like the release of Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in Kandahar, by previous NDA government.
“It is the same terrorist Masood Azhar who heads Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan and fomented terror on Indian soil everyday. Congress party’s commitment to end terrorism is absolute,” he said.
“After the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the UPA government’s response was to isolate and diplomatically expose Pakistan as a terror hub, besides rallying the international community for decisive action against terrorists,” he said.
Surjewala asserted that “Pakistan must be forced to dismantle the entire terror infrastructure of JeM, as also other terrorist outfits operating from its soil.”
“All wanted terrorists like Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, Haji Mohammad Yahya Mujahid, Abdul Salaam and Zafar Iqbal thriving on Pakistani soil and involved in heinous terror attacks in India must be forthwith deported to India and brought to justice,” the Congress said.
Surjewala also listed the UPA government’s efforts in tackling terrorism and the steps it took against terrorists.
“Within 14 days of Mumbai attack, we got China to agree to declare Hafiz Saeed as a global terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of UN,” he said.
“The UPA ensured that a USD 10 million bounty was placed on the head of the Mumbai attack perpetrator and the founder of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hafiz Saeed, by the US,” he said.
He also listed terror mastermind David Headley’s conviction to 35 years of prison and the UN Security Council putting top LeT members involved in Mumbai attack on sanctions lists, as achievements of the UPA.
He also asserted the Congress hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have noted and acted on “certain pressing issues that have repeatedly compromised India’s interests” such as China building a full-fledged military complex in Doklam only 10 m from Indian Army posts and neighbouring country constructing a road in South Doklam into the “Chicken’s Neck” — Siliguri Corridor.
China is building USD 54 billion China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) through PcK and Balochistan connecting Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea to China with base for Chinese submarines, Surjewala claimed.
He also claimed that China conducts mining on Arunachal border and attempts to build tunnels, and upgrades air base near Sikkim ·
Surjewala also cited China’s blocking of India’s membership of the ‘Nuclear Suppliers Group’ asking for parity with rogue Pakistan, to highlight the government’s “failures”.
China has exponentially expanded strategic, economic and defence partnerships with Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, he said.
“All this is done, but Modi ji’s ‘Laal Aankh’ answer remains :- ‘jhoola diplomacy in Gujarat, hug diplomacy in Delhi, and agenda-less visits to China, without the mention of Masood Azhar or Doklam,” he said.
Commenting on Azhar’s listing, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said,”the current listing proposal has been agreed after all political references, including removal of attempts to link it with Pulwama and maligning” the struggle of the Kashmiris.