China does not look at terrorism from either ethical or humanistic parameters. She cares only for political considerations while condoning or condemning terrorism. Generally speaking, where Beijing finds terrorism hurting its interests or obstructing its global strategy, she will not wait to disapprove it but when terrorism hurts anybody on the other side, she will not only overlook it but will unhesitatingly try to protect the terrorist.
The case in point is a proposal before the Security Council purporting to designate a Pakistani as an international terrorist. China blocked it. Let us debate the issue.
On 1 June, India and the US submitted a joint proposal to the Security Council demanding to list Abdur Rahman Makki, the brother-in-law of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and his close aid, under the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaeda and ISIL Sanctions Committee which is also known as the UNSC 1267 Committee. The proposal was submitted under a “no-objection procedure” valid till June 16. Its copies had been circulated among all members of the SC in advance.
Who is Makki and what are the charges against him? This question is the base on which the entire proposal has been built. The 74-year-old Makki has been performing the LeT leadership role for a long time. The US has already designated the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba (LeT) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) because of its involvement in the 9/11 attack. Makki occupied various leadership roles in LeT, and both India and the US have already listed Makki as a terrorist under their domestic laws after convincing evidence was collected.
The Hindustan Times of 18 June wrote that Makki is the deputy chief of LeT and head of the group’s political affairs department. Both LeT and its front organisation, Jama’at-ud-Dawah (JuD) have been proscribed as terrorist entities by the UN.
Under pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that Pakistan cracks down on terror financing, a case of terror financing was framed against him and a Lahore court gave him an 18-month prison term. Makki has been involved in recruiting and radicalising youth to plan attacks in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani terrorist organizations like LeT and JuD were involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack, the Red Fort attack on December 2000, the Rampur CRPF Camp attack in January 2008, Karan Nagar (Srinagar) attack on February 2018, Khanpur, Baramulla attack in May 2018 and the Gurez-Bandipur attack in August 2018. In November 2010, the US Department of the Treasury designated Makki as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. “The US government had also put a bounty of $2 million on his whereabouts”, wrote the Wire.
Both India and the US strengthened their demand for a listing of Abdur Raman Makki based on the evidence available to them. We have said that as per practice and procedure, the joint proposal of the two countries was circulated among all members of the SC in advance.
On 16 June, China, a close ally of Pakistan, placed a “technical hold” on the proposal to list Makki and this measure can last for up to six months at a time. China’s action of placing a technical hold did not come as a surprise because earlier China had followed the same policy when a three – a member proposal of designating Masu’d Azhar as a global terrorist was blocked by China under the same strategy. Defending its obstruction move the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said, “China will continue to conduct its work constructively and responsibly”. He said in updated comments posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website. China thinks that obstructing the designating of terrorists like Masu’d Azhar and Makki is “constructive and responsible”.
Asked to elaborate on his comments, especially on procedures and rules, Chinese foreign office spokesman Wang declined to go into the details. “I have made China’s position clear. I’m not going to repeat myself”, he said. Responding to another question about whether China’s stand to put a hold on the designation of the wanted terrorist will add to the growing list of issues causing discord between India and China, he said: “On the listing of the person you mentioned, I just stated China’s position”. He did not have any convincing answer.
As is evident, the Chinese foreign office spokesman failed to convince the reporters that there was weight in his argument that China was ‘conforming to rules and procedures or there was any other ‘technical hold’ of cognizable importance. It was a political decision to placate a particular country and cater to her interests. The spokesman declined to elucidate where the proposal did not conform to the rules and procedures. He was on the slippery wicket.
This exposes the double-speak of China in its commitment to join the fight against terrorism. It will be reminded that how Beijing has been treating the Sunni Muslim-dominated areas of the eastern province of Xinjiang and forcing the nationalist forces of these Muslims to flee the country or suffer incarceration in labour camps, has been condemned by the entire world except its vassal Pakistan. Rather Pakistan has appreciated the state persecution of and the terrorising of its Uighur subjects. It has to be noted that China is not opposing the listing of Pakistan-based terrorist organizations and leaders (Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, Makki et al) only to placate friendly Pakistan but more importantly she wants that the committed fundamentalist-terrorist organizations in Pakistan do not attempt to export their Theo-fascist ideology to the Uighur. It will be reminded that previously Beijing issued a harsh warning to Pakistan not to allow the dissident Uighurs to join the terrorist camps in Pakistan for receiving training in guerrilla warfare. Even a few such provocateurs arrested by the Chinese security forces were summarily executed in Xinjiang.
Again, China got infuriated by the visit of House Speaker Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan. China did not only fire missiles and moved its warships into the Chinese waters but also imposed a ban on Pelosi and her family members’ visit to Taiwan defining her visit as a threat to China’s integrity. In simpler language, Pelosi’s mere visit to Taiwan is considered a threat but Makki as a component of LeT that has openly declared jihad against India in Kashmir and is fighting a proxy war for three decades is not considered a threat to the integrity of India. This is double-speak.
Reacting to the policy of double-speak, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has rightly concluded that it is going to damage and ultimately sink the credibility of China in the eyes of the international community. China has not respected its commitment to joining the global community in the fight against terrorism. China conceitedly does not even take into account that in May 2019, the global body designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masu’d Azhar as a “global terrorist”, almost a decade after New Delhi had first approached the world body on the issue.
This analysis strongly supports the idea that drastic fundamental reforms in the UN structure are inevitable. A big chunk of humanity can no more be sidelined; it has to be taken on board, particularly when crucial matters about the perpetuation of the humans and animals on this globe are to be debated.