Pakistan too was given a blunt message on terrorism, with envoys from various member countries privately expressing dissatisfaction over FATF’s relief to Islamabad.
The two-day meeting of the United Nations Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee (UN-CTC) in Mumbai and New Delhi came as a big diplomatic triumph for India, with members of the body cornering China over its soft corner for Pakistan based terrorists. The members also sent out a blunt message to Pakistan, with many of them in private conversation expressing unhappiness over FATF removing Islamabad from the grey list. On being called out for weakening the collective global war on terror, Beijing’s irritation was quite visible, when Yan Hua, Vice Consul General at Consulate General of China in Mumbai, asked the countries to “avoid mutual accusations and politicizing technical issues.” China’s representative at the CTC meet expressed irritation when US Secretary for State Antony Blinken on the first day of UNSC CTC meeting slammed China and Pakistan for shielding global terrorists.
“Was the Chinese envoy trying to defend Pakistan apart from Beijing?” a diplomat asked, talking to The Sunday Guardian. Diplomatic sources told The Sunday Guardian that apart from discussing ways to strengthen joint efforts to combat terrorism, the UN CTC gave a strong message to both China and Pakistan. India has been successful in using the meeting to highlight its concerns over how Pakistan-China nexus is adding to the problem of terrorism. “Not only this, UNSC’s focus could be brought back to Pakistan being an epicenter of terrorism and China protecting terrorists emanating from there,” a source said.
In a clear message to Beijing, U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken, who addressed the meeting virtually, said “all parties should support UN blacklisting of global terrorists. Blinken said that the U.S. is working with India to blacklist terrorists, and no nation should stand in the way. Blinken’s following words carried more a scathing message, “Allowing architects of the attacks to go unpunished will send a message to all terrorists that their crimes will be tolerated.” “India was waiting for the US to make some harsh remarks in a message to China over terror issues and Blinken’s statement has come on a right time,” a diplomat said.
The message was for China who in recent months blocked several bids to designate Pakistan terrorists. In fact, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had set the narrative when he raised the issue of listing planners of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack as global terrorists at the meeting. Jaishankar took a swipe at both China and Pakistan, saying that the key conspirators of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks continue to remain protected and unpunished even today. He was more categorical in his message to China when he said that the international community should rise above political differences and defeat the challenge of terrorism. Without naming Pakistan, Jaishankar slammed it for cross border terrorism. The message hit the right spot as Pakistan immediately came out with an angry reaction. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry protested against the comments regarding “cross border” terrorism that India raised at the UN CTC Mumbai. “Contrary to Indian claims, it is India that has remained non-cooperative with Pakistan and has deliberately held back judicial proceedings of the Mumbai attack case,” the official statement from Pakistan declared.
Sources said that Pakistan is aware how Jaishankar’s views on cross border terrorism got endorsement from other countries of UNSC. UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly talked tough on terrorism. He had a message for China and Pakistan, as he said that countries must do nationally and internationally to counter terrorism. Mentioning about Mumbai attacks, Cleverly said that the terrorism is a global problem. What he suggested was that China must also think about this problem in a global perspective, not in any bilateral perspective, says a diplomat interpreting UK FS’ remarks.
Referring to Pakistan’s exit from the grey list, a top diplomat said that legal process and action against 26/11 attackers may be a farcical process to duck the FATF regime. Sources said that many envoys from UNSC member states were of the same view when in their private conversations.
Representatives of all 15 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members were present at the conference held at the TajMahal Palace hotel, one of the sites of the 2008 terror attack. They all attended the meeting in New Delhi on Saturday as well.
Meanwhile, at the special meeting of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee on “Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes”, which was held in Mumbai and New Delhi on Friday and Saturday, Indian officials detailed the conspiracy and the 26/11 attack.
In a presentation, watched by the current 15 UNSC members and 5 incoming members, senior officials of the Home Ministry played the audio clip of Sajid Mir, one of the attack planners. In the audio clip, he can be heard directing terrorists to shoot at Nariman House. Sajid Mir’s listing as a global terrorist, an initiative of India and the US, was blocked by China at the UN in September this year. China has been blocking US and India’s moves on the listing of Pakistan-based terrorists–Sajid Mir, Abdul RaufAzhar, Abdul RehmanMakki being the more recent cases. Jaishankar suggested that normative efforts at the UN need to be coordinated through collaboration with other international forums like the Egmont Group and FATF. He also expressed the need to ensure the transparent and effective functioning of UNSC sanctions regime and to ensure objective and evidence based proposals for listing terrorists groups, should not be rendered ineffective for political reasons.