UN blacklists anti-India cleric Makki as terrorist


ISLAMABAD: The United Nations has designated an anti-India cleric being held in Pakistan as a global terrorist, the world body’s second such designation stemming from the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

The announcement regarding Abdul Rehman Makki was hailed by India on Tuesday, a day after the decision.

The Foreign Office said Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism and supports counter-terrorism efforts at the international level, including at the United Nations.

Makki, 68, is a senior figure in the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba group. He was arrested in Punjab in 2019 and convicted in November and December 2020 in two separate cases on charges of terror financing.

Makki was sentenced to one year in prison but officials say he is still in custody without providing an explanation. He is being held in Punjab pending his appeals, according to several government officials who are familiar with the case.

The UN Security Council committee overseeing sanctions against al-Qaida and Islamic State extremists and their associates put Makki on the sanctions blacklist after approval by the council’s 15 members.

Under the UN measure, Makki’s assets can be frozen and he will also face a travel ban.

Makki is a close relative of Hafiz Saeed, another cleric. Saeed, 72, is serving a 31-year prison sentence and was designated a terrorist by the United States and the UN Security Council.

Saeed, like Makki, was never charged in connection with the Mumbai attacks that strained relations between Pakistan and India. He is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was blamed by India for the attacks in India.

Monday’s UN Security Council decision came after China lifted a hold on adding Makki, who has been under US sanctions since November 2010.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokesperson at Foreign Office, said: “Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and supports counter-terrorism efforts at the international level including at the United Nations and other multilateral fora.”

Baloch said in a statement that “Pakistan has always called for strict compliance with the Security Council’s listing rules, procedures and established processes to maintain the integrity of the UN counter-terrorism regime.”

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, Pakistan and India, which have a history of bitter relations, have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which is split between them and claimed by both in its entirety.__Pakistan Today