In yet another attempt to protect Pakistan-based terrorists, China has put a hold on a proposal moved at the United Nations by the US and co-supported by India to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Sajid Mir, one of India’s most wanted terrorists and the main handler of 2008 Mumbai attack, as a global terrorist.
Experts have termed the decision by China as “pathetic and highly irresponsible”. Ironically, both China and Pakistan are members of Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO), which witnessed a big discussion on terrorism and how to deal with it on Friday.
The experts also said that China’s action was not surprising as Beijing, being an “all-weather friend” of Islamabad, has a history of taking such a stance.”I’m not surprised. China has a history – even if it is not directly involved in promoting terrorism by supporting terrorists – of putting technical holds on their listing at the UN Security Council 1267 committee. It tends to convey the message that terrorism is fine, terrorists are okay. I think this is something that China has to understand that by doing so they cannot fight terrorism. They cannot go outside and tell that they are fighting terrorism,” Anil Kumar Trigunayat, a former Indian Ambassador to Jordan, Libya and Malta, told ANI.
“It is ironic, highly irresponsible and pathetic for a country like China to do this,” he added. He referred to steps to tackle terrorism being a significant part of Samarkand Declaration issued after the SCO Summit which was attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The declaration said that the mmber states, in accordance with their national legislation and on the basis of consensus, will seek to develop common principles and approaches to form a unified list of terrorist, separatist and extremist organizations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO member states. The SCO member states, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed deep concern over the security threat posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations and strongly condemned terrorist acts around the world.
Trigunayat said the Chinese action has come a day after the SCO summit.
“What we are looking at is that China again goes ahead and puts a technical hold on Sajid Mir, another terrorist. Just few days before they had done it with another Masood Azhar’s younger brother. SCO is having a country like Pakistan, which is involved, has indulged in promoting terrorism, cross-border terrorism against several countries, mostly against India for decades, as its member.”
MS Pratibha, Associate Fellow, IDSA and an expert on China said that Beijing’s decision was political.
“For China, it is not a decision based on technical considerations. It is a political one. Due to its close relationship with Pakistan, they will block Indian attempts. We will likely see more of such blocking in the future too. Another possibility is that they believe India should handle these issues unilaterally rather than through the UN (which will force them to diplomatically choose between India or Pakistan). Other possible reasons include US-China bickering about the delisting in 2020 of ETIM, which China considers as a terrorist organisation, form the 1267 Sanctions Committee,” Pratibha said.
Mir is one of India’s most wanted terrorists and has a bounty of USD 5 million placed on his head by the US for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Beijing has repeatedly put holds on listings to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorists under the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.
It is the third time in recent months that China has blocked an India-US proposal. Earlier, Abdul Rehman Makki, a leader of the LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), and Abdul Rauf Azhar, the brother of Jaish-e Mohammed (JEM) founder Masood Azhar, were given “protection” by Beijing in the sanctions committee.