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Pakistan must permanently shut down JeM and stop Azhar's activities: media

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

The noose around global terrorist Masood Azhar appears to be tightening, a leading Pakistani newspaper commented Friday as it urged authorities to permanently shut down the JeM and not allow the terror group's chief to continue his activities in the country.

The UN sanctions committee on the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda on Wednesday designated Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), as a global terrorist and imposed sanctions on him over his ties with the Al-Qaeda.

The Pakistan-based JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers in February and led to a spike in military tensions between India and Pakistan.

"After an over two-decade-long career piloting Jaish-e-Mohammad, one of the most lethal jihadi outfits in South Asia, the noose around Masood Azhar appears to be tightening, as the militant mastermind has been designated a global terrorist by the UN Security Council," Dawn said in an editorial.

While some segments may see the move as a 'victory' for India, the fact is that Azhar and his group have caused nothing but trouble for Pakistan, it said.

The JeM may have made Kashmir its focus, but its cadres have caused plenty of havoc in Pakistan as well. For example, its militants form the nucleus of what is known as the Punjabi Taliban, a loose confederation of jihadists, also consisting of sectarian elements, the paper said.

Though the JeM was banned in 2002 by Pakistan, its activities continued and Azhar was largely a free man. "Now, with the UN proscription, it is hoped that the group is permanently shut down and its head not allowed to continue his activities," the editorial hoped.

At the same time, it emphasised that India cannot be allowed to link the Kashmiri struggle for justice and rights with terrorism. Also, the state must realise that tolerating such groups is a liability for Pakistan.

"Far from serving any 'strategic depth', these outfits end up isolating the country (Pakistan) internationally," it said.

"Perhaps if we had put our own house in order, India would not have been able to exploit the situation and associate jihadist groups with Pakistan," it noted.

The editorial also emphasised that all militant groups and non-state actors that promote hateful, divisive and sectarian narratives must be shut down.

The Express Tribune however, noted that China only lifted the technical hold on Azhar's global terrorist designation after a major diplomatic compromise with the movers of the proposal - the US, the UK and France.

The compromise led to the movers revising the resolution, clearing it of all references to the Pulwama attack and Pakistani state institutions, especially those linking the Kashmiris' struggle for self-determination to terrorism, the paper said in its editorial.

India has played down the absence of reference to Pulwama attack in the UN notification designating Azhar as a global terrorist, asserting that it broadly covered all his terrorist acts.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Thursday that the UN notification was not supposed to be Azhar's bio-data, insisting that the Pulwama terror attack played a role in his listing.

"In the UN notification, it very clearly states that Masood Azhar was listed for participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, and perpetrating terrorist activities associated with JeM," Kumar said.

The Nation newspaper in its editorial said, the UN's move was not a one-sided proclamation and more of a hard-fought negotiated agreement which sees each side walk away with its major agendas fulfilled.

This, the editorial said, goes to show how complex and contentious bilateral issues such as the Azhar listing, when broken down into their constituent parts and treated rationally, can produce workable solutions.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 03 2019. 20:25 IST