Designation as terrorist at the UN

Source: By The Indian Express

China has blocked a proposal by India and the US at the United Nations to list Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Shahid Mahmood as a global terrorist.

This is the fourth time in as many months that Beijing has blocked bids to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorists at the UN. The latest move comes at a time when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in India and has paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, carried out by the LeT.

India and the US had proposed that Mahmood, 42, be designated as a global terrorist under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

Who is Shahid Mahmood?

According to the US Department of Treasury, which designated Mahmood as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2016, he is a senior LeT member based in Karachi, and has been affiliated with the group since at least 2007.

“As early as June 2015 through at least June 2016, Mahmood served as the vice chairman of Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a humanitarian and fundraising arm of LeT. In 2014, Mahmood was the leader of FIF in Karachi. In August 2013, Mahmood was identified as a LeT publications wing member,” the website said.

China blocking terrorist designations in the past

In June this year, China put on hold a proposal by India and the US to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki under the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee.

Then in August, China blocked a proposal by the US and India to blacklist the senior Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) leader Abdul Rauf Azhar.

In September, China again blocked a proposal moved by the US and co-supported by India to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Sajid Mir as a global terrorist. Mir is one of India’s most wanted terrorists and has a bounty of USD 5 million on his head by the US for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

These recent India-US proposals have been moved around the time of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meetings.

FATF is an international watchdog monitoring money laundering, terror financing, and other threats to global financial networks, and Pakistan is trying hard to move out of its ‘grey’ list. They grey listing signals to international financial and banking systems that there are increased risks in transacting with the country in question, impacting the country’s economic growth. To get out of the grey list, Pakistan has to fulfill tasks recommended by the FATF, such as confiscating properties of individuals associated with terrorist groups.

The Makki proposal at the UN was blocked on June 17, the day of an FATF plenary. Rauf Asghar proposal came on August 17, when an FATF team was to leave for Pakistan shortly, Sajid Mir’s proposal was moved on September 17, when the FATF had just returned from Pakistan. Another FATF meeting begins on 19 October 2022.

What is the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee?

The committee is part of the UN Security Council and its job is to implement international sanctions against terrorists. The other two committees with similar roles are the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Security Council Committee.

The Al Qaeda committee was established as the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee on 15 October 1999, after Security Council Resolution 1267 designated al-Qaeda and the Taliban as terrorist bodies. In 2011, a separate committee was formed for the Taliban.

Resolution 1267 was adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and requires all UN member states to “freeze the assets of, prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by, and prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer of arms and military equipment to any individual or entity associated with Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and/or the Taliban as designated by the Committee.”