US asks Pakistan to take action against Masood Azhar

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NEW YORK: The United States has asked Pakistan to take action against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and other terrorists, who have been able to “exploit” their presence in Pakistan.

“…. I think what we would like to see are the conditions whereby India and Pakistan can have a constructive conversation that leads to an improvement of relations between the two nuclear powers.  And obviously, that is going to hinge off of the – off of counterterrorism, off of Pakistan’s seriousness of effort in ensuring that groups don’t take advantage and engage in cross-border infiltration, that there are serious steps to implement the Financial Action Task Force action plan that Pakistan has committed to, and which includes the prosecution of UN-designated terrorists,” said Alice Wells, US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia on Thursday.

“So whether it’s Hafiz Saeed who currently is in custody and under prosecution, but also leaders of Jaish-e-Mohammed, like Masood Azhar, who long have been able to exploit their presence on Pakistani soil,” she added.

Wells made these remarks during a press briefing in New York where 74 session of United Nations General Assembly is underway.

The JeM is responsible for carrying out many attacks in India.  Its terrorists attacked the Parliament building and Jammu and Kashmir State Legislative Assembly complex in 2001, killing nine and eight people respectively. Pathankot terror attack in 2016, Pulmawa attack in February this year was also carried by the JeM. 

Since the day of his designation by the United Nations as a “global terrorist” in May, Pakistan is reportedly keeping the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed underground, preventing him from giving speeches in mosques or releasing audiotapes.

Early this month, the Indian government had also listed Azhar under the new anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 1967.