In a historic diplomatic victory for India, the French government has imposed sanctions on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, including a freeze on his assets. This move implies that France has censured the terrorist in order to help India in its fight against Pakistan-backed terrorism. This sends a stern message to Pakistan that it cannot simply get away by fomenting terrorism on its soil. Other countries will now start taking action against Pakistan-based terrorists and terror organizations.
We welcome the decision taken by France to sanction Masood Azhar, Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based & UN proscribed terrorist organisation; and responsible for the Pulwama terrorist attack @Indian_Embassy https://t.co/qimxRid9Tl
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) March 15, 2019
French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the French Ministry of the Interior announced in a joint statement that apart from freezing Maulana Masood Azhar’s assets, France will also discuss the prospects of putting Azhar on a European Union list of terrorists and terror organizations. The statement from the French government read, “We will raise this issue with our European partners with a view to including Masood Azhar on the European Union list of persons, groups, and entities involved in terrorist acts, based on this decree.” The formal communication added, “A deadly attack took place in Pulwama on 14th February 2019, claiming over 40 victims from the Indian police forces. The Jaish-e-Mohammed, which the United Nations has deemed to be a terrorist organization since 2001, has claimed responsibility for this attack.”
The French government also stated that it has always been and always will be by India’s side in its fight against terrorism. This is a major diplomatic achievement for India as it might just ignite a global effort to isolate Pakistan and punish it for manufacturing cross-border terrorism against India. Former foreign secretary, Kanwal Sibal said, “In taking this decision, France is conveying several messages: of political solidarity with India, its intention to take a lead in counter-terrorism, a signal to Pakistan that it must deal firmly with jihadi organizations on its soil, and putting Pakistan and China on the mat on their combined effort to protect Masood Azhar in the UNSC.” He also said, “Getting him listed as an international terrorist by the EU would show that the international community is not helpless against Chinese blocking tactics. This is a political signal to China too. India’s strategic partnership with France is getting depth.”
Interestingly, this move came just a day after China blocked a UNSC move to designate Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. However, now it is clear that China and Pakistan cannot really protect Azhar by blocking a UNSC move. India and its allies have other mediums of creating trouble for the dreadful terrorist and bringing him to justice. India’s allies across the globe will mount pressure on Pakistan and Masood Azhar will ultimately be taken to task. India has rightly reacted warmly to the French move and has welcomed it promptly. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We welcome the decision taken by France to sanction Masood Azhar, Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based & UN proscribed terrorist organization; and responsible for the Pulwama terrorist attack.”