China on Tuesday defended its decision to allow the United Nations to designate an anti-India militant leader as a global terrorist, saying the designation would enhance international cooperation against terrorism.
Abdul Rehman Makki, 68, who is currently serving an unspecified jail term in Pakistan on terror charges, was added to the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions list on Monday.
India and the United States jointly proposed the listing last June, but China, a close ally of Pakistan, placed a so-called “technical hold” on the proposal, which it removed on Monday.
“Terrorism is a common scourge for humanity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news conference in Beijing when asked about China’s reversal.
“The individual you mentioned has been convicted and sentenced by Pakistan, and this designation is a sign of recognition of Pakistan’s staunch fight against terrorism,” Wang noted. He described the U.N. listing mechanism as “conducive” to strengthening international cooperation against terrorist threats.
Responding Tuesday to Makki’s placement on the sanctions list, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said her country was “a victim of terrorism and supports" international counterterrorism efforts, including those of the U.N.
“The listing of Mr. Abdur Rehman Makki is a technical issue undertaken under relevant procedures of the United Nations Security Council. In any case, he has been convicted by a Pakistani court already,” Baloch noted.
She reiterated Islamabad’s call for “strict compliance” with the Security Council’s listing rules and procedures to “maintain the integrity of the U.N. counterterrorism regime.” She did not elaborate.
Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, welcomed the U.N. listing of Makki, calling the procedure an "effective tool” to curb threats from regional terrorist organizations.
“India remains committed to pursuing a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism,” he said.
Organizations and individuals added to the Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions list are subject to assets freezes, travel bans, and arms embargoes.
The U.N. statement on Monday identified Makki as the deputy chief of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group, also known as Jamat-ud Dawa, blamed for the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.
New Delhi accuses the Pakistani militant leader of playing roles in several terrorist attacks in India, including the Mumbai carnage, which killed 166 people. Foreigners were also among the victims.
Makki is the brother-in-law of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who is also serving a prison term in Pakistan on charges of financing anti-India militants.
Saeed denies India’s allegations that he masterminded the Mumbai bloodshed.
Pakistani authorities arrested Makki in 2019, and a court sentenced him to six months in prison in 2020 on charges of financing terrorist activities. He remains in jail for reasons not immediately known.
Makki is also wanted by the U.S. in connection with the Mumbai attack, and Washington has issued a $2 million bounty for his arrest.
New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of harboring and funding militant groups blamed for terror attacks on Indian soil and Muslim-majority parts of India-administered Kashmir.
Pakistan, which also administers part of Kashmir, denies the allegations as an attempt to divert attention from India’s alleged human rights violations and atrocities against Kashmiris.
The nuclear-armed rival nations have fought several wars and limited conflicts, mainly over Kashmir, since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. The dispute remains at the center of bilateral tensions.