ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday reacted to UN designating Masood Azhar as a global terrorist saying it will “immediately” implement the sanctions imposed on the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) chief.

At the same time, Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Muhammad Faisal emphasised at a press conference here that the current amended proposal at the UN Sanctions Committee was approved “once politically motivated attempts to link it with the Pulwama incident and the legitimate Kashmiri struggle for the realisation of the right to self-determination were removed”.

“The UNSC decision entails travel restrictions, asset freeze and arms embargo,” said Faisal, adding that “Pakistan is a responsible state and we will take responsible action”. 

Faisal said the UN Sanctions machinery is governed by rules, procedures and defined processes. “The proposals for listing are examined, reviewed and acted upon, in line with specific, technical criteria. Technical holds, confidentiality provisions and consensus decision making are part of the listing process,” he added. 

The FO said Azhar’s listing has been under consideration of the UN’s Sanctions Committee for almost a decade. “Previous proposals to list Masood Azhar did not meet the technical criteria as they included factors unrelated to the listing rules and were thus rejected,” Faisal said. 

The previous proposal, he said, was presented on the basis of considerations beyond the listing parameters. As a result, a technical hold was placed by China to bring it in line with the listing criteria, he added. 

Since 2008, Pakistan had been blocking the move through China to enlist Azhar as a global terrorist. Termed as a ‘technical hold’, the last such move took place on March 13 this year, less than a month after JeM had accepted responsibility for the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. 

“Pakistan has always called for all countries to strictly comply with the listing rules and procedures and maintain the integrity of the UN sanctions regime. Pakistan has also underlined that leveraging UN Sanctions regime to advance political objectives is counterproductive,” the FO said.

Faisal denied that the development was a “victory for India” and emphasised that the UNSC decision was in line with vision of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan to not allow any terror group to operate in the country. 

“Since January 2019, Pakistan has accelerated the implementation of the National Action Plan against terrorism and extremism. The Plan inter alia includes a range of actions against UN proscribed entities and individuals,” said the FO spokesperson. “Notwithstanding the challenges, progress is being made and further work will continue in line with national consensus and interest,” he added.