UNITED NATIONS - An Indian move demanding action against Pakistan for releasing Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the suspected mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in “violation” of a United Nations resolution failed when China blocked the move in a UN committee on the ground that New Delhi provided insufficient information and that it was politically motivated, according to diplomatic sources.

They said that the Indian letter to the Security Council’s Al-Qaeda Committee complaining that the release of Lakhvi on bail was a violation of the 15-member body’s sanctions regime, which was “technically and factually” incorrect.

In a letter to the current chairman of the UN sanctions committee Jim McLay, India’s Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukherjee last month had claimed that Lakhvi’s release by a Pakistani court in April was in violation of the 1267 UN resolution dealing with designated entities and individuals.

But experts here pointed out that the Security Council sanctions regime obligates states to impose international travel ban, assets freeze and arms embargo on sanctioned individuals. According to experts, release on bail of a sanctioned individual does not violate the resolution.

The experts said that the Security Council, in fact, ensures protection of human rights, including the fundamental human rights of sanctioned individuals, such as protection from arbitrary detention.

“Therefore Pakistan is fully implementing the Security Council resolutions, as also acknowledged in the reports of the relevant UN bodies,” one of the experts said.

“China’s actions therefore were principled in opposing an Indian attempt to misuse the international machinery in its drive to malign Pakistan and politicise the work of the sanctions committee.”

As the committee met recently at India’s request, a clarification was to be sought from Pakistan over Lakhvi’s release in the Mumbai attacks trial but the Chinese representative blocked the move on grounds that India did not provide sufficient information.

Lakhvi and six others — Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum — have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 that left 166 people dead.

Lakhvi, 55, a close relative of LeT founder and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the 26/11 attack case. The trial has been underway since 2009.


Pakistan has told the UN Security Council that it was determined to eliminate terrorism, but would hit back “forcefully” against any attempt to destabilise parts of the country or to attack its territorial integrity.

“Let me be clear: we will be relentless in rooting out terrorism, whosoever its sponsors, external or internal,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in a debate on the situation in Afghanistan on Monday.

“Any effort to destabilise parts of our country or to attack its territorial integrity will be responded to forcefully,” the Pakistani envoy added.

Ambassador Lodhi’s statement coincides with heightened tensions between Pakistan and India, and reports of Indian involvement with the separatist insurgency in Balochistan.

Acknowledging that terrorism remained a common challenge, she told the 15-member Council that Pakistan had condemned of the recent rise in violence in Afghanistan, including the “atrocious” attack on the Afghan Parliament, and reaffirmed Islamabad’s commitment to cooperation with that country in fighting the scourge.

Ambassador Lodhi spoke after the quarterly briefing by Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in which he urged the international community to work towards lasting peace and reconciliation by facilitating direct talks between the government and armed groups. The country continued to need the support of the international community and the sustained attention of the Council, he stressed.

In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said Pakistan would play a constructive role in promoting peace and security in Afghanistan that could best be achieved through a process of national reconciliation undertaken and led by Afghans themselves. “We welcome the first, tentative steps taken in recent months to advance the reconciliation process. We hope these steps will lead soon to direct talks as well as de-escalation of violence.” “Pakistan will do everything possible to encourage this process. Success will require reciprocal accommodation and above all, strategic patience,” she added.

Ambassador Lodhi affirmed enhance engagement between her country and Afghanistan based on the principles of non-interference, preventing the use of territory to attack the other country and treatment of each other’s enemies as common enemies, as agreed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the Pakistani leader’s recent visit to Kabul.

Outlining activities related to the Heart of Asia process that Pakistan co-chaired, she stated that sustainable peace in Afghanistan would lead to regional stability. She also welcomed the Afghan government’s commitment to the return and reintegration of the large population of refugees hosted by Pakistan and hoped for continued UNAMA assistance in that regard.

Ambassador Lodhi called for more focused action with international support to stem the illicit drug trade. The destinies of Afghanistan and Pakistan were intertwined, and her country would help the Afghan people in whatever way it could to reach the goal of lasting peace.

Haysom, the UN envoy to Afghanistan, also said the Afghan National Security Forces had been stretched as they took on full security responsibilities. There had been an intensification of conflict across the country, including in areas previously considered to be safe. While the Afghan Forces faced operational challenges, their commitment was beyond question and they demonstrated resilience in the face of efforts by insurgents to take and hold ground.

Foreign fighters from Afghanistan’s northern neighbours and elsewhere presented a particular challenge, he said, adding that there was considerable concern that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) was seeking to establish a foothold. That demanded greater regional involvement and collaboration to address that shared threat. The most tragic index of the intensification of conflict was the toll on civilians, with 4,216 killed or injured so far this year.