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China relents, UN blacklists LeT's Abdul Rehman Makki as 'global terrorist'


Published on: January 17, 2023 | Updated on: January 17, 2023

The UN Security Council's Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee added Makki Monday to its list of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.  Representational Image/ANI

United Nations: In a major diplomatic victory for India, Abdul Rehman Makki was designated a global terrorist by the UN after China lifted its hold on a joint India-US proposal to blacklist the deputy chief of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, paving the way for the Security Council's Al Qaeda sanctions committee to list him through consensus.

The UN Security Council's 1267 ISIL (Da'esh) and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee added 68-year-old Makki to its list of designated terrorists on Monday, subjecting him to an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, after years of efforts by India and its allies.

Makki's listing comes seven months after China, a close ally of Pakistan, had put a hold on June 16, 2022 on a joint proposal by India and the US to designate the head of the political affairs wing of JuD/LeT and the brother-in-law of LeT chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

Decisions to list individuals and entities under the 1267 sanctions committee are made through consensus.

Of the 15 Security Council members that make up the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, veto-wielding permanent member China was the sole hold-out during the process to list Makki.

Consensus to blacklist Makki under the 1267 Al Qaeda sanctions committee could not be achieved after China placed a hold on the joint proposal by India and US in June last year.

As per the committee's guidelines, a Member may request more time to consider a proposal by placing a hold on the decision. For the duration of the validity of any hold placed on a matter, the decision on that matter will be considered pending.

The Committee Member that has placed the hold is required to provide updates after three months on its progress in resolving the pending matter.

If the hold placed on a proposal is lifted, the UN Secretariat is bound to immediately update the ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions List and inform the Member States concerned about the Committee's decision.

With China finally lifting its hold, Makki was designated through consensus under the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

China has repeatedly placed holds and blocks on bids by India and its allies to list Pakistan-based terrorists.

In May 2019, India had won a huge diplomatic win at the UN when the global body designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, a decade after New Delhi had first approached the world body on the issue. China was the sole hold-out in the 15-nation body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking attempts by placing a "technical hold".

In 2009, India first moved a proposal to designate Azhar. This was followed by similar efforts together with the US, the UK and France in 2016 and 2017 but on all occasions, China's holds blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the sanctions committee.

The Sanctions Committee provided a narrative summary of reasons for Makki's listing in which it said Makki and other Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-Ud-Dawa operatives have been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalising youth to violence and planning attacks in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.

The UN said in a press release Makki "is deputy Amir/Chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) a.k.a Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Head of Political Affairs Wing JuD/LeT. He also served as head of LeT's foreign relations department and a member of Shura (governing body). He is the brother-in-law of JuD/LeT Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed."

Former Indian diplomats hailed Makki's listing as a huge success for the country's diplomacy.

Responding to the development, India's former Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti told PTI that Makki's listing is a huge success for Indian diplomacy.

First terrorist listing proposal by India in the Security Council to be approved and, further, expressly mentioning terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir emanating from Pakistan. India's presence in the Council and as Chair of the Counter-terrorism Committee has considerably enhanced the focus on terrorism, including cross-border terrorism, Tirumurti said.

Notably, the proposal in June 2022 by India to list Makki under the UNSC sanctions committee was made under Tirumurti's tenure as India's Ambassador to the UN.

India was a member of the UN Security Council for the 2021-22 term and Tirumurti was Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee last year before retiring from the Indian foreign service.

India's former Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said in a tweet, 1 more success for @IndianDiplomacy. Abdul Rahman Makki designated by @UN Sanctions CommitteeThe pursuit of the rest continues.

It was under Akbaruddin's leadership at India's Permanent Mission to the UN here that India won a huge diplomatic win in May 2019 when the global body had designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.