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As pressure grows, Pakistan plans to act against dreaded terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar

The Security Council Sanctions Committee will consider within 10 days on the fresh proposal moved by the three permanent veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council.

Agencies Agencies
New Delhi Updated on: March 04, 2019 11:58 IST
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Masood Azhar

The Pakistan government in order to de-escalate the tensions with India, has decided to launch a crackdown on terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, according to a top government source while a media report said on Sunday that Islamabad may even withdraw its opposition to the move to list him as global terrorist in the UN Security Council.

"The government has decided in principle to launch crackdown on the leadership of the JeM (Azhar)," the source said. 

He said the action against JeM in the country is "expected any time soon".

"In order to de-escalate the tensions between India and Pakistan, the Imran Khan government has planned action against the JeM," the source said.

"This will be another significant move of the Imran Khan government to de-escalate tensions after handing over the captured Indian pilot to his country," he said.

To a question about the Azhar's fate, the official source said he cannot confirm whether he would be put under house-arrest or taken into custody.
According to a media report, a security official hinted that Pakistan may withdraw its opposition to the listing of JeM chief as global terrorist by the UN Security Council.

"The state has to decide whether individual is important or the larger national interest of the country," the official was quoted as saying in the Express Tribune, when asked if Pakistan would no more oppose the UNSC action against Azhar.

The US, the UK and France last week moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based JeM chief Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo.

The Security Council Sanctions Committee will consider within 10 days on the fresh proposal moved by the three permanent veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council.

The proposal is the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday chaired a meeting of the National Security Council.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale attended the meeting.

The meeting comes amid a report that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar getting killed in the bombardment by Indian Air Force (IAF) on a terror camp in Balakot going viral, but there was no confirmation from any authoritative sources.

It also comes after two militants, five security men and a civilian were killed in the 48-hour-long gunfight that ended on Sunday in Jammu and Kashmir's border Kupwara district.

After the IAF carried out air strikes at a massive JeM camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province early on Tuesday, the tension between the two countries escalated.

The air strike came 12 days after a CRPF convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, in which 40 security personnel were killed. Pakistan-based JeM claimed responsibility for the attack.

In response, Pakistani aircraft crossed the Line of Control on Wednesday in an attempt to target India's military installations. While an India MiG-21 was shot down and its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured when he landed in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a Pakistan Air Force F-16 was also shot down.

The IAF officer returned to India on Friday, a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his release as a "gesture of peace".

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