Congress says govt should push for bounty on Azhar’s head

Jaish’s chief Masood Azhar

The Congress on Wednesday welcomed blacklisting of Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and said the government should push for announcement of bounty on his head as was done by the UPA government against LeT chief Hafiz Saeed.

In a statement, Congress Communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that designation of Azhar as a global terrorist was only the first step and that Pakistan must be forced to dismantle the entire terror infrastructure operating from its soil.

Azhar heads Jaish-e-Mohammed which had claimed responsibility for Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

“All wanted terrorists like Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, Haji Mohammad Yahya Mujahid, Abdul Salaam and Zafar Iqbal thriving on Pakistani soil and involved in heinous terror attacks in India must be forthwith deported to India and brought to justice,” he said.

He demanded that Modi government should pursue blacklisting of Pakistan as a terrorist state by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“Modi government should now push for declaration of bounty on the head Masood Azhar as was ensured by the UPA government in case of Hafiz Saeed,” he said.

The party said Modi government should have acted with greater speed in getting Masood Azhar proscribed and alleged that it did not push the case with China in 2018 following Modi govenrment’s “agenda-less” visit to China.

It said that loss of precious lives in attacks like in Pulwama could have been avoided if government had pushed the international community, including China, to agree to declaring Azhar as an international terrorist.

“History is replete with BJP’s compromises of national security in tackling terrorism, which is reflected in actions like the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in Kandahar, Afghanistan, by then BJP-led government.”

Surjewala said that following 26/11 Mumbai attacks, UPA-Congress government’s response was to isolate and diplomatically expose Pakistan as a terror hub, besides rallying the international community for a decisive action against terrorists.

“Within 14 days of the Mumbai attack, we got China to agree to declare Hafiz Saeed a global terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of UN. The UPA ensured that a $10 m bounty was placed on the head of the Mumbai attack perpetrator by America.

“Another mastermind David Headley was held guilty and sentenced to 35 years of prison during the UPA government in 2013,” he said.