China blocks India, US bid to designate Pakistan-based Abdul Rehman Makki as global terrorist by UN

PTI | Updated on: Jun 18, 2022
A file photo of Abdul Rehman Makki

A file photo of Abdul Rehman Makki | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

Makki is the brother-in-law of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and has held various leadership roles within LeT.

United Nations/Beijing, June 17

China has blocked a joint proposal by India and the US to designate Pakistan-based top LeT militant Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist under the UN sanctions committee, a move Beijing's claimed was consistent with relevant rules and procedures.

74-year-old Makki is the brother-in-law of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

Makki has occupied various leadership roles within LeT, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO). Both India and the US have already listed Makki as a terrorist under their domestic laws.

On June 1, India and the US jointly proposed to list Makki under the UN Security Council's Al-Qaeda and ISIL Sanctions Committee which is also known as the UNSC 1267 Committee. But, China, a close ally of Pakistan, placed a "technical hold" on the proposal to list Makki and this measure can last for up to six months at a time. All decisions of the Committee are taken through consensus.

‘Double standards’

In New Delhi, government sources said China's decision runs counter to Beijing's claim of combating terrorism and signals its "double standards". He has been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalising youth to resort to violence and planning attacks in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.

Protecting well-known terrorists from sanctioning will only undermine China's credibility and "risk exposing" even itself more to the growing threat of terrorism, they said. "This decision by China is extremely unfortunate given the overwhelming evidence against Makki. Moreover, it runs counter to China's claims of combating terrorism," said a source.

In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday defended its move, saying that its actions were in accordance with the relevant procedures and rules. “I would like to say that China opposes all forms of terrorist attacks,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said when asked why China chose to put a hold on designating the known Pakistan-based terrorist.

“China’s actions at the UN Security Council 1267 Committee are always consistent with relevant rules and procedures. China will continue to conduct its work in a constructive and responsible manner,” he said in updated comments posted on the Foreign Ministry's website.

Asked to elaborate on his comments, especially on procedures and rules, Wang declined to go into the details. “I have made China’s position clear. I’m not going to repeat myself,” he said.

Responding to another question about whether China's stand to put a hold on the designation of the wanted terrorist will add to the growing list of issues causing discord between India and China, he said: “On the listing of the person you mentioned, I just stated China’s position”.

“On China-India relations, our attitude is consistent and clear. We hope the Indian side will work with us for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations” Wang said, amidst a chill in bilateral ties over the unresolved military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

China’s track record

Earlier also, China has placed holds and blocks on bids by India and its allies to list Pakistan-based terrorists.

In May 2019, India had won a huge diplomatic win at the UN when the global body designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist”, a decade after New Delhi had first approached the world body on the issue. A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China was the sole hold-out in the 15-nation body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking attempts by placing a "technical hold".

In 2009, India had moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar as. In 2016, India moved the proposal with the P3 -- the US, the UK and France -- in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the air base in Pathankot in January 2016. In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions, China blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the sanctions committee.

Keeping up the international pressure to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, the US, supported by France and the UK, had moved a draft resolution directly in the UN Security Council to blacklist him. In November 2010, the US Department of the Treasury had designated Makki as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

As a result of this designation, among other consequences, all property, and interests in property, of Makki that are subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Makki. “In addition, it is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to the Foreign Terrorist Organisation LeT,” the US said.

The US Department of State’s Rewards for Justice programme is offering a reward of up to USD 2 million for information on Makki. He has also played a role in raising funds for LeT operations.

Published on June 18, 2022
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