Pakistan

Makki now global terrorist after China withdraws hold

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has designated Pakistan-based Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist under the 1267 ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] (Daesh) and al-Qaeda Sanctions List after China withdrew its objection.

In June last year, India and the US had moved a joint proposal to blacklist Makki but China, Pakistan’s long-term strategic partner, objected to the move delaying his listing.

The decisions about the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, which comprises 15 members of the UNSC, are taken with consensus.

Veto-wielding permanent member China was the only country that blocked Makki’s listing in June last year.

China has not given any official statement as to why it suddenly withdrew its objection.

However, sources said China took Pakistan into confidence over the decision and Islamabad too did not object.

“Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and supports counter-terrorism efforts, including [those] at the UN,” said the Foreign Office spokesperson.

“Abdul Rehman Makki is a technical issue undertaken under the relevant procedures of the UNSC. In any case, he has been convicted by a Pakistan court already,” the spokesperson added.

Makki, who is a brother-in-law of Hafiz Saeed, the head of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa, was arrested by authorities in May 2019.

He was charged in July 2019 over terror financing and kept under house arrest in Lahore.

In November 2020, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and one year in jail in two separate trials by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan for terror financing.

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A statement issued by the UNSC read that Makki was a deputy chief at the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and head of its political affairs wing.

He has also remained the head of the LeT's foreign relations department and was a member of its governing body.

In November 2010, the US Department of the Treasury had designated Makki as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and put a bounty of $2 million on his whereabouts.

China, in the past too, has blocked India and other countries’ moves to designate certain individuals as global terrorists.

Beijing blocked the listing of banned Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar by the UN Sanctions Committee for a decade.

India first sought his listing in 2009 and later was joined by the US and other western countries.

However, China only lifted the hold in 2019 allowing the UN Sanctions Committee to blacklist Masood Azhar.

In June 2018, Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terrorism aand terror-curbing financing systems.

One of the key plans of action agreed by Pakistan was to not only strengthen its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism laws but to ensure the successful persecution of terror suspects.

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It was because of this reason that Islamabad between June 2018 and October 2022, when Pakistan was finally taken off the FATF grey list, successfully persecuted several suspects including Hafiz Saeed in terror financing cases.

The successful persecution of these individuals was the last sticking point that the FATF had pressed Pakistan to implement to exit its watch list.

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