India has hit out at China for blocking a move to designate Pakistan-based LeT leader Sajid Mir as a “global terrorist” by the UN, saying it shows a lack of genuine political will to fight the scourge of terrorism.
China on Tuesday blocked a proposal moved by the US and co-designated by India to blacklist Mir under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council as a global terrorist and subject him to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Mir is wanted for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
In a strongly-worded statement, Joint Secretary at India’s permanent mission in New York Prakash Gupta said on Tuesday if efforts to ban terrorists fail due to “petty geopolitical interests”, then “we really do not have the genuine political will to sincerely fight this challenge of terrorism”.
“The first and most critical gap we feel addressing is avoiding double standards, and this self-defeating justification of good terrorists versus bad terrorists. Terror act is a terror act, plain and simple. Any justification of any kind being used should not be countenanced by anybody,” he said at United Nation’s counter-terror meeting.
Gupta said in this day and age of accountability and transparency, can evidence-based listing proposals be blocked without giving any reason.
He said India has fought against terrorists in practically real-time on a daily basis.
“While the 9/11 terror bombings in this iconic city of New York had changed the landscape of the global counterterrorism architecture, the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks shook the collective conscience of the world’s largest democracy,” he said.
Gupta also played an audio clip of Mir in which he can be heard instructing terrorists from Pakistan during the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks.
Ten fully armed assailants from across the borders well trained in conducting urban warfare, descended on the shores of Mumbai and wreaked havoc for three days. The carnage resulted in the killing of 166 innocents, including 26 foreigners.
“Justice still continues to elude the victims of the Mumbai terror attack,” he said. Mir was listed as a proscribed terrorist under the national laws of India and under the laws of the United States and several other countries globally, he said.
“But when the proposal for listing him did not go through the Security Council sanctions regime, we had strong reasons to believe that something was genuinely wrong in the global sanctions regime, as manifested in the Security Council,” Gupta said.
“If we cannot get established terrorists who have been proscribed across global landscapes, listed under the Security Council architecture for petty geopolitical interests, then we really do not have the genuine political will needed to sincerely fight this challenge of terrorism,” he added.
Gupta rued that 15 years after the Mumbai terror attacks, its masterminds in Pakistan have not yet been brought to justice.
Mir, believed to be in his mid-40s, is one of India’s most wanted terrorists and has a bounty of USD 5 million placed on his head by the US for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
In June last year, Mir was jailed for over 15 years in a terror-financing case by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan.
Pakistani authorities had in the past claimed Mir had died, but Western countries remained unconvinced and demanded proof of his death. This issue became a major sticking point in FATF’s assessment of Pakistan’s progress on the action plan late last year.
Mir is a senior member of the Pakistan-based LeT and is wanted for his involvement in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.