Beijing: China Tuesday defended its move to lift a technical hold leading to the designation of Pakistan-based top LeT leader Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist, saying that listing of terrorists is conducive to enhancing global counterterrorism cooperation and praised Islamabad for backing counter-terrorism efforts.
Makki, the 68-year-old brother-in-law of Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, 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 (LeT).
The UN Security Council’s 1267 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee added Makki to its list of designated terrorists Monday, subjecting him to an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, after years of efforts by India and its allies.
“Terrorism is the common enemy of humanity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here when asked about China’s decision to lift its objections to India and US move to declare Makki a global terrorist and whether Beijing will also back similar moves against four other Pakistan based terrorists pending with the Committee.
“The 1267 Committee (of the UN Security Council) is an important international counterterrorism mechanism” and listing of terrorists or terror organisations under the aegis of the UN is conducive to enhancing international counterterrorism cooperation in response to terrorist threats, he said.
“The relevant people have been convicted and sentenced by Pakistan. The listing also shows Pakistan’s firm combat against terrorism, it is a recognition,” he said, without elaborating why China, a close ally of Pakistan, decided to put a technical hurdle in the first place.
China has always been participating in the 1267 Committee’s work in a constructive and responsible manner in line with the standards and procedures of the committee, he said.
Makki was among a number of Pakistan-based terrorists and China over the years sought to block their listing as global terrorists.
In May 2019, India secured a huge diplomatic victory at the UN when the global body designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a “global terrorist” after Beijing lifted its objections.
China’s move to remove its objections to Makki’s UN listing comes as its new Foreign Minister Qin Gang began his tenure. Qin, who was previously China’s envoy to the US, succeeded Wang Yi.
China’s attempts to put technical holds on the declaration of Pakistan-based terrorists over the years have become a major irritant in the troubled ties between Beijing and New Delhi.
It also comes at a time India and China sought to resolve the military standoff in Eastern Ladakh through high-level military and diplomatic dialogue. The two countries have held 17 rounds of talks to work out the disengagement of troops from several points of friction in eastern Ladakh.
Makki’s listing as a global terrorist comes seven months after China 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.
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.
With China finally lifting its hold, Makki was designated as a “global terrorist” through consensus.
China has repeatedly placed holds and blocks on bids by India and its allies to list Pakistan-based terrorists.
The Sanctions Committee provided a narrative summary of reasons for Makki’s listing in which it said he and other LeT/JuD 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 LeT a.K.A JuD and Head of the Political Affairs Wing JuD/LeT. He also served as head of LeT’s foreign relations department and a member of Shura (governing body).
Makki, born in Bahawalpur, Punjab Province of Pakistan, is a US-designated terrorist.
He was arrested on May 15, 2019, in Pakistan and placed under house arrest in Lahore. In 2020, a Pakistani court convicted Makki of terrorism financing and sentenced him to jail, the sanctions committee said.
The sanctions committee said that whilst Makki has held his leadership positions within LeT and JuD, LeT has been responsible for or had involvement in prominent attacks including the Red Fort attack in which six LeT terrorists had stormed Red Fort on December 22, 2000, and had opened indiscriminate fire on the security forces guarding the Fort.
Describing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks as the most audacious attack by LeT in India, the committee said 10 LeT terrorists from Pakistan entered via the Arabian Sea in Mumbai with pre-decided targets out of which Ajmal Kasab was caught alive, the rest were killed.