Blocking Khurasani’s listing part of double standards in fight against terrorism: FO

Blocking Khurasani’s listing part of double standards in fight against terrorism: FO

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Thursday that blocking the listing of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) leader Umer Khurasani by the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) Sanctions Committee was a reminder of the double standards in fighting terrorism.

Speaking at the weekly media briefing, FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said: “This action demonstrates the double standards prevailing in the international fight against terrorism and also shows complete disregard of the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in this fight.”

Pakistan had in October last year asked the UNSC Sanctions Committee to list Abdul Wali, commonly known as Umer Khalid Khurasani, because he was the mastermind behind a number of major terrorist strikes in the country, including the Army Public School carnage and Easter bombing in Lahore. Khurasani was also leading the JuA, an organisation which the committee has listed.

However, Pakistan’s request for Khurasani’s listing was blocked by the United States on the grounds that the listing request identified his current location as Afghanistan.

The FO spokesman avoided mentioning the US, claiming the proceedings of the committee were confidential and the decision had not been formally conveyed to Pakistan.

“We are aware that the UN Al Qaeda/IS Sanctions Committee did not approve Pakistan’s proposal to list Umer Khalid Khurasani aka Abdul Wali, the leader of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, since it could not reach a consensus due to an objection by a member,” he said.

Dr Faisal expressed disappointment over the blocking of Khurasani’s listing and recalled that he was “a known terrorist and has the blood of hundreds of innocent Pakistanis on his hands”.

“If the organisation has been listed by the sanctions committee, its leader should also have been listed,” he argued.

Responding to a question, the spokesman said that the restrictions on the movement of Pakistani diplomats in the United States would take effect from Friday (today).

The restrictions were initially planned to take effect from May 1, but were postponed for 10 days by the US government due to continuing talks between the two countries on the issue.

Earlier, Dr Faisal had said that he was optimistic about an amicable settlement of the dispute. Now that the restrictions are finally being implemented, it was implied that so far the talks had failed to resolve the matter.

At the press briefing, however, the spokesman noted that negotiations on the matter were still continuing.

Dr Faisal said the agrément for the appointment of Ali Jehangir Siddiqui as Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington had been received from the United States. “The process for him to assume charge of his assignment in Washington has started,” he added.

The spokesman did not comment on the reports about an Iranian diplomat who went missing from Lahore while visiting Pakistan. He said that he would respond after “checking details”.

The Iranian embassy has taken the incident to the FO and expressed deep concern over what happened, a source told Dawn.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2018

Source: News

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