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Pakistan, China warn against politicising UN anti-terrorism regime

Updated March 30, 2019

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Pakistan's Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi says structures like FATF, 1267 Sanctions shouldn't be used a political tools by some to advance their geopolitical goals. — Twitter/File
Pakistan's Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi says structures like FATF, 1267 Sanctions shouldn't be used a political tools by some to advance their geopolitical goals. — Twitter/File

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has warned that politicising the UN counterterrorism machinery would only compromise the integrity of the regime, as China also warned against “forcefully moving” a resolution in the UN Security Council.

Speaking in a Security Council debate on “Preventing and Combating the Financing of Terrorism” on Thursday afternoon, Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that current structures like FATF and the 1267 Sanctions regimes should not be used as political tools by some to advance their geopolitical goals.

“There is also a need to make these institutions more inclusive of the wider membership in their decision-making processes,” she added.

Caution follows tabling in Security Council of resolution by US, seeking to list JeM chief as global terrorist

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing that “forcefully moving” a resolution directly in the UNSC undermined the authority of the UN anti-terrorism committee.

“This is not in line with resolution of the issue through dialogue and negotiations. This has reduced the authority of the Committee as a main anti-terrorism body of the UNSC and this is not conducive to the solidarity and only complicates the issue,” he said.

On Wednesday, the United States directly moved a resolution in the UNSC, seeking to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a UN-designated global terrorist.

On March 13, the US, Britain and France had moved a similar resolution in a forum known as the 1267 or the Islamic State and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee. Since members of this committee are the same as those of the UN Security Council, China used its discretionary powers to put a technical hold on the resolution. China also promised to review the situation, including Indian allegations against Masood Azhar, and reconsider its position on the resolution.

But instead of waiting for the final Chinese decision, the United States moved the resolution in the Security Council. China, as one of the Permanent Five, can veto the resolution but this will put Beijing in a direct confrontation with the other four. Both Washington and New Delhi hope that China will avoid a direct confrontation and let the resolution pass.

Speaking in the general debate, Ambassador Lodhi pointed to the several gaps that existed in the international community’s counterterrorism strategy.

She identified the lack of international attention given to foreign intervention and foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination to peoples living under foreign occupation and continued violations of international law and the UN Charter as examples of such gaps.

She pointed out that continued and persistent violations of human rights contributed to violent extremism. Yet killings continue in India-held Kashmir and Palestine.

Ambassador Lodhi said that brutalisation and oppression of people struggling for their legitimate right to self-determination constituted state terrorism, which should also be the focus of international attention.

“Pakistan has been the principal victim of terrorism, including that supported, sponsored and financed from abroad,” she said. “But this has not diminished my country’s resolve to eliminate this scourge.”

Ambassador Lodhi also told the Security Council that Pakistan had criminalised terrorist financing in accordance with the Terrorism Financing Convention and had enacted laws to eliminate terrorism financing risks and implement its international obligations, including those arising from FATF recommendations and 1267 Sanction Regime.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng said China put a technical hold on the US move because it wanted to conduct an in-depth assessment and was “in communication with all parties to seek a settlement through dialogue. We hope this will be a common goal of all the members of the UNSC.”

Asked about Pakistan rejecting the evidence put forward by India on the Pulwama terrorist attack, he said, the 1267 committee had detailed and clear stipulation and requirements on the listing issue.

“What China has done is in line with the requirement of the UNSC and rules and procedures of the committee. We are always working in a constructive manner and stay in communication with the relevant parties and seek a proper solution,” he said.

Mr Geng said that moving a resolution directly in the UNSC undermined the authority of the UN’s anti-terrorism committee.

“This has reduced the authority of the Committee as a main anti-terrorism body of the UNSC and this is not conducive to the solidarity and only complicates the issue,” he said. “We urge the US to act cautiously and avoid forcefully moving forward this draft resolution.”

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2019