China blocks adding LeT leader Shahid Mahmood to UN terrorist list

Acting for the fourth time since June on behalf of its ally Pakistan, China blocked the inclusion of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader in the UN Security Council sanctions list, the sources said on Wednesday.
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China has again blocked the UN from imposing sanctions on a Pakistani terrorist - this time Shahid Mahmood - a week before the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee is to meet in India, according to diplomatic sources.

Acting for the fourth time since June on behalf of its ally Pakistan, China blocked the inclusion of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader in the UN Security Council sanctions list, the sources said on Wednesday.

The action was reported on the eve of the meeting in Paris of the terrorist funding watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), that is to consider Pakistan's request to be taken off a list of countries facilitating the funding of terrorist groups.

Mahmood's declaration as an UN-sanctioned terrorist could be an embarrassment for Islamabad at the FATF meeting.

The US and India have asked the Security Council committee dealing with sanctions on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda along with affiliated groups like the LeT to impose sanctions on Mahmood, who runs its international operations.

The panel, known as the 1267 Sanctions Committee for the number of the resolution setting it up, includes all the members of the Security Council and its members can block the addition of terrorists to its list, which China has repeatedly done to protect several terrorists from its ally Pakistan.

Last month, China put a hold on the sanctioning of another LeT leader, Sajid Mir, a mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attack carried out by Pakistanis in 2008.

In August, China blocked the listing of another Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rauf Azhar, the commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) involved in the hijacking of an Indian aeroplane in 1999, from being added to the list.

And in June, Beijing vetoed sanctioning LeT deputy chief Abdul Rehman Makki.

According to the US Treasury Department, which put Mahmood on its sanctions list in 2016, he is the vice chair of an LeT front organisation called Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation.

He was involved in LeT's international operations, with a focus on Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, and has also led delegations to Syria, Turkey, and Myanmar, it said.

The department said, "Mahmood claimed that L-e-T's primary concern should be attacking India and America".

It said that he has visited Bangladesh to distribute funds in Myanmar refugee camps to recruit members for the LeT.

The Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee headed by India is to meet in Mumbai at the Taj Palace Hotel on October 28.

The venue is highly symbolic as it was the centre of the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai that killed at least 175 people.

The next day, it will hold another meeting in New Delhi.

The FATF, an international group that monitors the financing of and money laundering by terrorists and the countries involved, has placed Pakistan on its "Gray List" and Islamabad wants to be dropped from it claiming it has improved compliance with the FATF requirements.

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