UNSC Condemns Pulwama Attack, Notes That Jaish-e-Mohammad Claimed Responsibility

The mention of Jaish-e-Mohammed is significant, as no Pakistani official statements have acknowledged till now that the terror group accepted responsibility.

New Delhi: The United Nations Security Council on Thursday issued a statement identifying Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed as having claimed responsibility for the “heinous and cowardly” suicide bombing of a convoy of security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14.

The press statement was issued by the UNSC president, Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, based on consensus from all members, including the P-5.

“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, which resulted in over 40 Indian paramilitary forces dead and dozens wounded on February 14, 2019, for which Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility,” said the UNSC statement.

According to sources, the statement’s reference to JeM, which had been listed as a terror entity by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee in 2001, had been proposed by India through “partner countries” in the UNSC. The statement was apparently mooted by France.

Indian sources were keen to note that the UNSC press statement had been adopted unanimously by all members, including China.

The focus on China by New Delhi was to highlight that Beijing had not objected to the naming of Jaish-e-Mohammed, even though it objects to JeM chief Masood Azhar being designated as a global terrorist.

On Friday, China devalued the inclusion of Jaish-e-Mohammad in the UNSC press statement. “Yesterday, the UN Security Council issued a press statement that mentioned that a particular organisation but only in general terms. It does not represent a judgment on the attack,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

China has still not indicated that it will remove its hold on listing Azhar under the 1267 UNSC Sanctions Committee.

“Following the relevant resolutions and the procedures of the 1267 Committee, China will engage in relevant discussions in a constructive and responsible manner, and keep close communication and coordination with India and other parties concerned,” said the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on February 20. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will be travelling to China for the 16th meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Russia and India on February 27.

Also read | Pulwama: Hizbul Mujahideen Threatens More Fidayeen Attacks

The UNSC statement also asserts that the members “underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of India and all other relevant authorities in this regard”.

It also noted that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, “regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed”.

This language on bringing the mastermind to justice, as well as for states to follow their obligations under international law, were also suggested by India, sources asserted

The mention of Jaish-e-Mohammed in the UNSC document is significant, as no Pakistani official statements have acknowledged till now that the terror group had accepted responsibility.

A press readout of the meeting of the National Security Committee chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan stated, “The incident was conceived, planned and executed indigenously.”

The NSC meeting on Thursday also decided to “accelerate action against proscribed organisations”.

“It was further decided that Jamat-ut-Dawa and Falah-e- Insaniat Foundation be notified as proscribed organisations by the Ministry of Interior,” said a Pakistan interior ministry spokesperson.

Also read | UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Pulwama Attack, Cautions Against Vigilantism

In 2018 February, just ahead of the Financial Action Task Force plenary, the Pakistan president had promulgated an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act to include entities listed by the UN Security Council. This meant that the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation were included in the Act.

The FATF put Pakistan on the grey list last February. The presidential ordinance lapsed in October 2018 and was not renewed by the Imran Khan government.

The FATF is scheduled to announce the outcome of its plenary week on Friday.