As Jaishankar to chair session on counter-terrorism at the UNSC, Pakistan launches claims against India

Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. File

Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. File
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

As External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar prepares to chair a UN Security Council meeting on terrorism on Thursday, Pakistan said it is distributing a new “dossier” on terrorism to UNSC members that alleges Indian agencies were involved in “masterminding” a 2021 blast near Hafiz Saeed’s home in Lahore. The briefing on “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: Global counter-terrorism approach – principles and the way forward” will be chaired by India, as President of the UNSC this month, and is one of a number of special sessions that the EAM has travelled to the U.S. to convene. Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is also in New York to chair sessions of the G-77 (Group of 134 developing countries) and China, of which India is a member. However, while Mr. Zardari attended the open debate at the UNSC meeting on reformed multilateralism chaired by Mr. Jaishankar on Wednesday, he is not invited to the special UNSC session on terrorism.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan has issued “red warrants” through Interpol for a number of Indians she claimed were responsible for a series of terror attacks in Pakistan, including several that targeted Chinese nationals and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Projects.

Ms. Khar also accused India of “blocking” UNSC terror designation requests for four Indian nationals, that were rejected by the UNSC in 2020, although India was not a member of the UNSC in that year. Moreover, this year China had blocked proposals by India and the U.S. to place five Pakistani leaders of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad on the UNSC 1267 terror designations lists.

Ms. Khar also accused the Modi government of carrying out the Balakot air strikes in February 2019, for “electoral gains”, and claimed, but didn’t furnish evidence, that India’s external intelligence agency R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing) was responsible for more than 1200 terror attacks in Pakistan in the past two years.

In particular, in a “dossier” released to the media, Pakistani officials accused the R&AW of funding a car bombing in Lahore’s Johar Town in June 2021 through a “trans-national network” involving 17 individuals it named, including Indian, Afghan, Bahraini and Canadian citizens, and providing “U.S. $875,000” for the purpose. Pakistan also claimed that the main “front man” for the attack, which is believed to have targeted LeT chief and 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, was Babloo Srivastava, presently in Bareilly Jail on a life term for kidnapping and murder. According to the dossier, four men had been convicted in Pakistan’s Anti-terrorism Court for the bombing, in which three people were killed and 22 injured.

“The Lahore incident for us is a test case for the credibility and integrity of international counterterrorism and counter-financing of terrorism regimes. The world must show that efforts to counter terrorism or non-discriminatory, and cannot be held hostage to what are clearly political and economic exigencies of the time,” Ms. Khar said in Islamabad.

Ms. Khar’s press conference came a day ahead of the UNSC meet, where India is expected to raise its issues with cross-border terror attacks, call for the prosecution and conviction of those responsible for the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks, as well as its demand that the UN adopts India’s 1996 proposal for a “Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism” (CCIT) that has made little progress thus far. In a concept note circulated to UNSC members about Thursday’s briefing, Indian Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said, “the threat of terrorism is transnational. Terrorist actors and their supporters, facilitators and financiers collaborate while remaining in different jurisdictions to organize acts anywhere in the world. A transnational threat can be defeated only by the collective efforts of all States Members of the United Nations”, calling on members to end the “the era of classifying terrorists as “bad”, “not so bad” or “good” on the basis of political convenience”. The briefing, chaired by EAM Jaishankar will seek to present ideas on preserving the sanctions regime and building an effective global counter-terrorism architecture, building on two meetings held in Delhi and Mumbai in October and November, and will be addressed by Under-Secretary-General, Office of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov, and Acting Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate Weixiong Chen.

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