Home Pakistan India U.N. Adds Leader of Outlawed Pakistan Group to Sanctions List – The New York Times

U.N. Adds Leader of Outlawed Pakistan Group to Sanctions List – The New York Times

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In a major diplomatic win for India, the United Nations on Wednesday added the leader of an outlawed Pakistani militant group to its sanctions blacklist after the group claimed responsibility for a February suicide attack in disputed Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers.

Sanctions against Masood Azhar were confirmed by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal at a news conference in Islamabad. Mr. Azhar’s inclusion on the Security Council’s Islamic State and Al Qaeda blacklist comes with a travel ban and a freeze on his assets.

Wednesday’s development comes less than three months after Mr. Azhar’s group, Jaish-i-Mohammad, claimed responsibility for the Feb. 14 attack in Kashmir, which is split between the two countries and is claimed by both in its entirety. The clashes have brought the two nuclear rivals to the brink of war at times.

Jaish-e-Muhammad claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed 40 Indian soldiers in Kashmir in February.CreditYounis Khaliq/Reuters

India had intensified its lobbying to have Mr. Azhar blacklisted after the killing of its soldiers, and New Delhi quickly welcomed the Security Council decision. Sanctions against Mr. Azhar had been delayed because China, a Security Council member, had blocked them on three previous occasions. But the council went ahead after China no longer objected.

Mr. Azhar, 50, was blacklisted for his leadership of Jaish-i-Mohammad, an Al Qaeda-linked group. The official listing by the United nations sanctions committee said Mr. Azhar supported Al Qaeda by supplying arms and recruiting members, and financially supported Jaish-i-Mohammed after he was released from prison in India in 1999 in exchange for 155 passengers on an Indian Airlines flight hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

As a group, Jaish-i-Mohammed had been put on the sanctions blacklist in 2001 for its ties to “Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban.”

Days after the Feb. 14 Kashmir attack, India responded by launching an airstrike in northwest Pakistan that caused no casualties. Pakistan then responded on Feb. 27 by shooting down two Indian warplanes and capturing a pilot, who was later returned.

Timely intervention by the international community defused tensions between the two South Asian nuclear powers, who have fought three wars since gaining independence in 1947.

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