NEW DELHI: Within a day after India publicly conveyed its intention, its Permanent Representative to the UN wrote to the sanctions committee of the world body to include the name of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar in its list.
“Our Permanent Representative in the UN has made a formal request writing a letter to the UN’s 1267 committee to designate Azhar as a terrorist putting his name in the sanctions list,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
On Thursday, Swarup had said it was a “matter of great anomaly that the organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed is listed but not its leader.” India pointed fingers at Jaish-e-Mohammed after the January 2 attack on the Indian air force base in Pathankot. It took four days for Indian security agencies to gun down all terrorists. In Islamabad, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson said there was no information so far if any such case has been moved in the United Nations Sanctions Committee, which has its own guidelines and procedures to handle listing issues.
“On the whole, as it is widely acknowledged, Pakistan is deeply committed to and played an important role in the global counter terrorism efforts. We have always abided by our international obligations,” he said on Friday. This is not the first time that India has gone to the UN to include Azhar in the sanctions list. In 2010, India’s application to include the JeM leader went into deep freeze, after China put a hold on the matter.
Pakistan PM’s foreign advisor Sartaj Aziz has this week for the first time acknowledged that Azhar was in protective custody since mid-January. He also said that one of the phone numbers, provided by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to his counterpart Nasir Janjua, had been traced to a JeM office in Bahawalpur.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has formed a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the Pathankot terror attack. Once India is informed about its composition formally, the discussion will then move onto the prickly issue of whether the Pakistani JIT, which includes members from ISI and military intelligence, will be allowed to visit the ‘crime scene’ - Pathankot base. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has repeatedly said the Pakistani probe team won’t be allowed at the sensitive military installation. The visit of the SIT team will precede the postponed meeting of the two foreign secretaries.
While no dates for the meeting have been decided, both the top diplomats will be in Kathmandu in second week of March for the SAARC ministerial conference. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will be representing India, while Aziz will be leading the Pakistani delegation. As is the norm, sideline bilateral meetings between the two countries are in the pipeline.
New Pak team to probe Pathankot attack
Islamabad: Pakistan has set up a five-member Joint Investigation Team to probe the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, a week after it lodged an FIR over the assault without naming JeM chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike. The team is expected to visit India “shortly” to gather evidence if the Indian government gives it permission.