Are China and Pakistan protecting a terrorist?
New Delhi, India:
India and the US earlier in June proposed to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki under the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaeda and ISIL Sanctions Committee, also known as the UNSC 1267 Committee, sources said.
Both India and the US have already listed Makki as a terrorist under their domestic laws. He has been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalizing youth to violence and planning attacks in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir.
Makki is the brother-in-law of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. He has occupied various leadership roles within LeT, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). He has also played a role in raising funds for LeT operations.
In 2020, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court convicted Makki on one count of terrorism financing and sentenced him to prison, acccording to the US State Department. The United States continues to seek information on Makki because the Pakistani judicial system has released convicted LeT leaders and operatives in the past.
Interestingly, it is learned that the proposal to list Makki under the UN Security Council sanctions regime was circulated to all members of the 1267 Committee under a no-objection procedure till June 16.
However, China later placed a “technical hold” on the proposal to list Makki. Sources said Beijing’s decision is extremely unfortunate and runs counter to claims of combating terrorism.
Notably, this is not the first time that China has placed hurdles for the listing of known terrorists. In the past, it had repeatedly blocked proposals to designate Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based and UN-proscribed terrorist entity, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
But why are China and Pakistan protecting Abdul Rehman Makki?
Writing for Bitter Winter, Massimo Introvigne argued that in protecting Makki at the United Nations as a member of the Security Council with veto power, China in this sense acted as a proxy for Pakistan.
“At the same time, the veto sends a signal that within the framework of the current international situation anti-Western (and anti-Indian) feelings so much colour Beijing’s moves to the point that China is prepared to contradict its rhetoric of fighting international terrorism and may in fact protect it,” he said.
It’s about time China should reflect on its response that signals double standards in combating terrorism. Protecting well-known terrorists from sanctioning in this manner will only undermine its credibility and risk exposing even itself more to the growing threat of terrorism.