NEW DELHI: New factual evidence of Masood Azhar’s activities was provided by some countries which made China relent on the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief’s designation as a global terrorist, diplomatic sources said on Friday. The sources, however, did not clarify whether the additional evidence given to China was on the JeM chief’s involvement in terror strikes in India, including the Pulwama attack, or his activities elsewhere.
There was no reference to the Pulwama attack or Jammu and Kashmir in the UN notification banning Azhar, though the original resolution mentioned them. French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler described the listing of Azhar by the UN Security Council as “a very important political decision” and said France has been an “unconditional partner” of India in dealing with the challenge of terrorism. “For the first time the world has reached a consensus and it will have concrete consequences,” Ziegler said.
France was a prime mover in pushing the last resolution on Azhar in March and escalating it with the US and the UK to the UN Sanctions Committee and bringing China to the table to lift its technical hold against declaring Azhar a ‘global terrorist’. Terming it “very good news for India and the world community”, Ziegler said, “It was a bit absurd that the JeM was banned by the UN but not its chief.”
The heightened Indo-French cooperation also reflected in the unprecedented scope of this year’s joint naval exercise ‘Varuna’ that started last Wednesday. The exercises, which will extend to Djibouti at the Horn of Africa, close to a Chinese base, is significant in scale and size, involving the best ships in both navies.
Ban on travel
Pakistan on Friday issued orders to freeze assets of Azhar and impose a travel ban. An official of Interior Ministry said Azhar was already on the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorist Act and could not travel without police permission.