The Congress on Thursday hit out at the Modi government for singularly claiming credit for the designation of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN and asked it to give a reply to Pakistan’s claim that Kashmir and the Pulwama attack were de-linked in the JeM chief’s listing.
The Congress also came out with a list of six anti-terror surgical strikes carried out during UPA rule, asserting that it never tried to take political advantage from military operations.
Senior party leader P Chidambaram said the Congress is happy that the process of designating JeM chief Azhar as a global terrorist has concluded successfully. He also asked why Pakistani premier Imran Khan wants Narendra Modi to continue as India’s prime minister.
Condemning Pakistan’s claims that it agreed to Azhar’s listing after all “political references”, including attempts to link him to the Pulwama attack, were removed from the proposal, the Congress said it was a serious matter and a reply must be given to “Pakistan’s mischief”.
In 2009, India first moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar a global terrorist. In 2016 again, India moved the proposal with the P3 — the United States, the United Kingdom and France — in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the Pathankot air base in January 2016.
In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, blocked India’s proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.
Congress spokesperson Rajeev Shukla hit out at the remarks made by Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman at a joint press conference, saying such designations were the result of a continuous process and just one government should not take credit for it.
“We humbly request them with folded hands to not take credit for everything. Stop taking credit and applauding yourself. Also, tell the country that you had freed Azhar from a Jammu jail. We had got Hafiz Saeed designated (as a global terrorist after the Mumbai terror attacks),” he said at a press conference.
It was the Congress that had got Saeed and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi as well as other terrorists designated as global terrorists, Shukla said.
“I also condemn Pakistan government’s claim that it is their diplomatic victory. They are saying that we have got Pulwama and Kashmir de-linked from it (the listing) and then this declaration has been made,” he said.
Shukla said that the government should give a reply to “this mischief (claim)” of Pakistan that they have de-linked Kashmir and the Pulwama incident while banning Azhar.
“This is a serious matter. For us, Pulwama is very important as Azhar had a direct role and he had accepted it. Then it would mean that the earlier incidents and the 26/11 (Mumbai terror attacks) were the basis for banning him for which we had submitted all documents. So, the government’s ministers should do a press conference on this also,” he said.
Describing the UN designating JeM chief Azhar a global terrorist as a great diplomatic victory for India, the BJP on Thursday said opposition parties are reluctant to celebrate the achievement because they feel they may have to pay a political price for it.
Shukla slammed the BJP for taking advantage of strategic actions.
The UPA government carried out six surgical strikes — Bhattal sector in Poonch (June 19, 2008); Sharda sector, across Neelam River Valley, in Kel (August 30-September 1, 2011); Sawan Patra checkpost (January 6, 2013); Nazapir sector (July 27-28, 2013); Neelam Valley (August 6, 2013); and one on December 23, 2013, he said.
Shukla also listed two surgical strikes carried out under the previous BJP-led NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. These were Nadala Enclave, across the Neelam River (January 21, 2000) and Baroh sector in Poonch (September 18, 2003), he said.
Shukla, in his remarks, also asserted that Azhar is a terrorist and all his activities must be banned.
He said following the Mumbai attacks, it was the UPA government that had made available documents that formed the basis for designations of terrorists subsequently.”All governments should be given credit,” he said.
The UN Sanctions Committee on Wednesday designated Azhar as global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to ban him.
France, the UK and the US had moved a fresh proposal to declare Azhar as global terrorist by the UN in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, China put a technical hold on the proposal, blocking it for a fourth time to designate Azhar a global terrorist. The Chinese move was termed “disappointing” by India.
On Wednesday, China lifted its hold from the proposal.
A UNSC designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo.
An assets freeze under the sanctions committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.