Protecting well-known terrorists from sanctioning will only undermine China’s credibility, say diplomats.

Hours after National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval during a BRICS meeting of NSAs sought cooperation from the members of the forum against terrorism, China put a block on a joint proposal by India and the United States in the UN to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki as a ‘Global Terrorist’ under the ISIS and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. This move by Beijing confirms India’s views that China’s commitment on counter-terrorism cannot be trusted. Sources said that what is more disappointing is that China’s move has come hours after BRICS NSAs meeting on the security issues including terrorism, which was hosted by Chinese NSA Yang Jiechi.

Only a few days ago, at the 4th NSA-level regional security dialogue in Dushanbe, China had joined India, Russia, Iran and four Central Asian countries in calling for dismantling terror camps in Afghanistan. But the diplomats in India did not trust China’s words against terrorism even then. After the Dushanbe meet, The Daily Guardian Review had reported how India was not impressed by China joining India and other countries in condemning terrorism.  

“Now, China has shown its true colours by blocking the joint bid by India and the US to designate Pakistan-based Abdul Rehman Makki as an international terrorist under the UN sanctions committee which is unfortunate,” say diplomats.  

India has hit out at China for blocking the proposal, with the diplomats saying that they are not surprised by this move of Beijing, given their track-record. “This is not the first time that China has put hurdles for the listing of known terrorists,” diplomats in Delhi say. This also runs counter to Beijing’s claim of combating terrorism and signals its “double standards”, sources further said.

Sources told The Daily Guardian Review that protecting well-known terrorists from sanctioning will only undermine China’s credibility. “China is also risk-exposing itself the growing threat of terrorism,” an official said who was associated with the BRICS NSAs’ meet.  

The terrorist Makki has been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalising youths to resort to violence and planning attacks in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, sources said.

On 1 June, India and the US jointly proposed to list Makki under the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaeda and ISIL Sanctions Committee which is also known as the UNSC 1267 Committee. Both India and the US have already listed Makki as a terrorist under their domestic laws. China has placed a “technical hold” on the proposal to list Makki and this measure can last for up to six months at a time.

“This decision by China is extremely unfortunate given the overwhelming evidence against Makki. Moreover, it runs counter to China’s claims of combating terrorism,” said sources.

It was not the first time that China has placed hurdles for the listing of known terrorists as it had repeatedly blocked proposals to designate Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of Pakistan-based and UN-proscribed terrorist entity Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the sources said.

Makki is the head of the political affairs of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Jamat ud-Dawa (JuD), and served as head of LeT’s foreign relations department. The LeT has been involved in major attacks in India such as the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Red Fort Attack in 2000, Rampur CRPF Camp attack in January 2008, Khanpora (Baramulla) attack in 2018, Srinagar attack in June 2018 and Gurez/Bandipora attack in 2018.

Makki was reportedly arrested by the Pakistan government on 15 May, 2019, and was kept under house arrest in Lahore. In 2020, he was convicted of terrorism financing and was sentenced to prison by a Pakistani court, they said. The proposal to list Makki under the UN Security Council sanctions regime was circulated to all members of the Council’s 1267 Committee under a no-objection procedure till 16 June.

But it was on 16 June, China placed a ‘technical hold’ on the proposal to list Makki who is also brother-in-law of LeT chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

In November 2010, the US Department of the Treasury had designated Makki as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.