China has blocked a proposal by India and the US at the United Nations to blacklist Sajid Mir, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative involved in directing the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in the third such move by Beijing within four months.
Beijing put a hold on Thursday on the proposal moved by the US and co-designated by India to blacklist Mir under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council as a “global terrorist” and subject him to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, people familiar with the matter said.
Mir, one of India’s most wanted terrorists, served as the chief planner of the Mumbai attacks, directed preparations and reconnaissance, and was one of the Pakistan-based controllers during the assault on India’s financial hub that killed 166 people, security officials say.
Pakistan, in June this year, informed Western interlocutors that Mir was arrested and given an eight-year prison term earlier this year, marking a turnaround from the country’s earlier claim that Mir alias Sajid Majid had “died” sometime ago.
The development was reported only after key Western countries mounted considerable pressure on Islamabad, which has been vying for an exit from the grey list of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to present proof of his alleged death.
Mir is a senior member of the Pakistan-based LeT and is wanted for his involvement in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
“Mir was LeT’s operations manager for the attacks, playing a leading role in their planning, preparation and execution,” news agency PTI quoted the US State Department as saying.
According to the US State Department, Mir has been a senior member of LeT since 2001.
Between 2006 and 2011, Mir was in charge of LeT’s external operations and planned and directed various terrorist attacks for the group.
One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, Mir is also accused of conspiring to commit a terrorist attack against a newspaper and its employees in Denmark during 2008-09. Mir was indicted in a US district court in Chicago in April 2011 and charged with conspiracy against the property of a foreign government, providing material support to terrorists, killing an American citizen outside the US and aiding and abetting the Mumbai attacks.
US, British and French anti-terrorism officials have also said the Lahore-born Mir also served in the Pakistani military. Mir then went on to join LeT’s international operations wing and allegedly developed ties with al-Qaeda.
In August 2012, the US Department of the Treasury designated Mir as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. As a result of this designation, among other consequences, all property and interests in the property of Mir that are subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Mir.
Beijing, an all-weather ally of Islamabad, has repeatedly put holds on listings to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorists under the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.
Last month, China put a hold on a proposal by the US and India at the United Nations to blacklist Abdul Rauf Azhar, the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and a senior leader of the Pakistan-based terror organisation. Abdul Rauf Azhar, born in 1974 in Pakistan, was sanctioned by the US in December 2010.
In a similar move in June this year, China put a last-minute hold on a joint proposal by India and the US to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki.
New Delhi and Washington had presented a joint proposal to designate Makki as a global terrorist under the 1267 ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, which Beijing blocked.
Makki is a US-designated terrorist and brother-in-law of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the November 2008 attacks.
With agency inputs