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Added To The List

The 1267 al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC) added Pakistan-based Abdul Rehman Makki to its List of Designated Terrorists on February 27, 2023, after China withdrew its hold on a joint proposal by India and the US in this regard. The 68-year-old Makki is a Pakistani radical Islamist and the Second-in-Command of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), a Pakistani Islamic-welfarist-militant political organisation, and Naib Ameer of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the Pakistani Islamist militant organisation that is operating against India. He is also the cousin and brother-in-law of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the co-founder of LeT. LeT is a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organisation that is designated as a terrorist group by the UNSC, India, the US, the UK, the European Union (EU), Australia and Russia.

Makki was one of the main conspirators of the infamous 26/11 Terror Attack (2008) on the Taj Palace Hotel and its vicinity in the western Indian city of Mumbai. He is also involved in terrorist activities on the Kashmir border (between India and Pakistan). India and the US have been trying for a long time to get Makki included in the UN List of International Terrorists in an attempt to corner Pakistan on the issue of terrorism at the global stage. However, China objected to the UN’s move to designate Makki as a global terrorist due to its cordial ties with Pakistan. The Asian Giant (a permanent member of the UNSC) eventually withdrew its objection on February 27.

As expected, New Delhi and Washington DC consider the development as a great moral, as well as diplomatic, victory for them. China virtually became isolated at the UNSC for its objection to add Makki to the List of Global Terrorists, as 14 of the total of 15 member-states of the UNSC, including India, backed the move. In a similar fashion, Beijing had tried to block the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Chief Maulana Masood Azhar to that list four times in the past. However, the attempt went in vain. The same thing happened in the case of Makki.

This time, the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, mentioning that Makki was imprisoned in Pakistan. In other words, Beijing tried to convince the Global Community that Pakistan remained committed to fighting against terrorism. Islamabad, too, issued a separate statement, stressing that Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism, and the imprisonment of Makki proved that the South Asian nation had never tolerated terrorist activities. It is basically an age-old diplomatic strategy of China and Pakistan against India and some other countries. Pakistan has always played the victim card and China has backed the strategy.

It can be assumed that the friendship between Beijing and Islamabad would remain intact even after the recent development, as the basis of this friendship is mutual interest. While Pakistan has ensured that the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) does not pass any resolution condemning China’s harsh treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang Province, Beijing has always encouraged Islamabad to carry out terror attacks in India in order to destabilise the world’s Largest Democracy.

The designation of Makki as an International Terrorist is certainly a great relief for India. However, New Delhi should keep in mind that it would have to face similar diplomatic challenges from both China and Pakistan in future.

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