India’s motivation in seeking a UN blacklisting of Jaish-e-Mohammed and its chief Masood Azhar is the same as it has always been: to distract from its illegal and brutal occupation of Kashmir and to trick the world into thinking that the only resistance to its occupation comes from terrorist groups backed by the Pakistani state. Were India consistent, it would resist any attempt by the UN to get involved. It has, after all, consistently flouted multiple UN resolutions on Kashmir and insisted that the issue of the occupation is an internal one that at most it would be willing to discuss bilaterally with Pakistan. That it suddenly abandons this supposed bedrock principle when its own interests are at stake shows how hollow its moves against multilateralism in the past have been. For now, China has placed a block on the blacklisting – something it has done in the past too with both JeM and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. However, China’s ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui has said that the matter will be resolved soon and that the hold on the blacklisting is ‘technical’ and that the matter will be discussed fully.
Clearly, we should point out Indian hypocrisy and double standards and call for the UN to be involved in all affairs in Kashmir and not just those that are the priority of India. The human rights abuses committed by Indian security forces deserve no less international attention than militancy. At the same time, our opposition to Indian scheming at the UN should not blind us to realities at home. Pakistan’s crackdown on militant groups in the past has been far from effective. Groups are banned, their leaders and cadres kept in protective custody for a few months and their accounts frozen. But these groups then emerge under new names and the cases against their leaders collapse in the courts as the state does not provide sufficient evidence to guarantee a conviction.
This has led to an impression globally that action is taken against such groups only for public relations purposes rather than out of genuine conviction. Pakistan should really not need to be told by the UN, India or anyone else that taking on the Jaish-e-Mohammad is in the country’s own interest. Our past policy of ignoring militant groups backfired badly when these same groups allied with the likes of the TTP and turned their guns on us. There is no foreign policy or security objective that would ever justify tolerating the presence of such groups. Admirable action has been taken by the Pakistani state against the JeM after the Pulwama attack but its efficacy can only be judged once it is clear that this initial flurry of activity will be followed by sustained action.