Coming out in support of India, a Member of the European Parliament has urged China to declare Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Expressing alarm and concern over China’s controversial decision to repeatedly block the sanctioning of Azhar as a global terrorist through the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC), Dr. Charles Tannock, Member of the European Parliament, In an article published in EP Today, categorically declares Beijing as being clearly guilty of endangering counter-terrorism efforts in Asia and other parts of the world by being selective in the targeting terrorist groups and openly supporting key ally Pakistan, a country that serves and acts as a major hub for terror outfits such as the JeM and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
“There are countries that continue to be selective in targeting terrorist groups. A recent example is of China blocking the listing of Masood Azhar, the leader of the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), by the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. Masood, an international terrorist, is charged of involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 that resulted in the death of more than 160 people, including many Europeans, and masterminding the attack on an Air Force base in Pathankot, India in January 2016,” says Dr. Tannock.
Describing the JeM as a terrorist organisation that is already listed as such in the UN Sanctions Committee list, by the United Kingdom and the United States, he says China’s move on Azhar is bizarre and unexplainable. “A veto on the listing of Masood Azhar as a terrorist can only be explained as part of a myopic policy of China to back at all costs its ally Pakistan to the detriment of India, even at the risk of endangering counter-terrorism efforts in the region,” he warns. Dr. Tannock asks, “Would China’s response have been the same if instead of a Pakistani, a Uyghur was to be placed on the sanctions list?” He further goes on to say that the past two years have witnessed Islamist terror creeping into and across Europe, leaving more than 300 persons dead, about 1000 injured and many more living with the daily trauma of being hit again. He cites the large number of terror-related casualties in Paris in December 2015, the Bastille Day attack in Nice in July 2016 and the attack at the airport in Brussels last year as examples. “For most of us, the phenomenon of Islamist terror has been associated with occurrences that were seemingly distant, with the remote possibility at least perceptually of finding its way to us.
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However, now we stand confronting this menace that threatens to eliminate the very ethos that our society has been built on, and change the western freedom and way of life as we have known it,” he says in his article. “It is (therefore) crucial that democratic countries and others afflicted stand united in its fight to eliminate radical Jihadi terror. Finally, we are beginning to think beyond our national borders… and to speak in one voice against this threat,” he adds. “EU member states are fast realising the importance of combining forces in combating terror.
It was, therefore, heartening to see France co-sponsoring India’s proposal in the UNSC on sanctioning Masood Azhar, and that French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault publicly stated France’s support for India on the matter, as well as in its broader efforts to fight terror,” Dr. Tannock states further.
He concludes by saying that while “it has been more than ten years since the UN adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy with the objective to enhance national and international efforts to counter terrorism….this strategy has remained largely ineffective, as UN member states (have)failed to agree a clear definition of terrorism and coordinate their actions accordingly.” “The time has come for responsible nations to join hands to confront and defeat this threat (of Islamic terrorism) …I think there is universal agreement that this worthy and essential goal is long overdue.”