China Again Blocks Bid to List Masood Azhar as ‘Global Terrorist’
In yet another setback to India’s bid to designate Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, China on Wednesday, 13 March, put a ‘hold’ on a proposal in the UN Security Council to ban him following the Pulwama terror attack.
China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India's bid for the fourth time in the last 10 years.
The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US on 27 February, days after a suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed nearly 40 CRPF personnel leading to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan.
The Ministry of External Affairs, while reacting to China’s decision, said that it was “disappointed by this outcome”.
The Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee members had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal.
‘Fourth Bid in 10 Years’
The no-objection period deadline was scheduled to end at 3 PM local time (New York) Wednesday, (12:30 AM IST Thursday).
Just before the close of the deadline, China put a hold on the proposal. A UN diplomat said China asked for “more time to examine” the proposal.
All eyes were on China, which has in the past blocked India's bids to get Azhar listed as a UN-designated global terrorist thrice. And once again, Beijing put a ‘hold’ on the proposal just as the deadline was about to end.
‘China Always Adopts a Responsible Attitude’
An inkling of China’s stand on the issue came during Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's press conferences on Monday and Wednesday in Beijing when he was asked about the proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UNSC.
“The discussions, I want to say, must follow the rules and procedures of the relevant bodies and only the solution that is acceptable to all sides is conducive for resolving the issue,” he said, indicating that Beijing may again block the move to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
According to sources, the statement of the case of the latest proposal by France mentioned that JeM had taken responsibility for the Pulwama attack on 14 February in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.
The statement also noted that Azhar is a former leader of the terrorist group Harakat al-Mujahadin and he had given a call to volunteers to join the fight in Afghanistan against Western forces.
India also handed over to Pakistan a dossier on "specific details" of involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack.
India’s Attempt to Get Azhar Listed
In the past, India moved a proposal for Azhar’s listing in 2009 after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks but China had put a ‘technical hold’ on it.
In 2016, after the Pathankot airbase attack, India put forth another proposal to ban Azhar but China intervened at Pakistan’s behest and twice placed a technical hold on India’s request – in March 2016 and October 2016.
China blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee in 2009 and 2016. In 2017, Beijing also blocked a move by the US, the UK and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
Enough Evidence Against Azhar: US
On the eve of the crucial decision by the UNSC, the Trump administration had made it clear that there is enough evidence against Azhar to designate him as a global terrorist.
“Azhar is the founder and the leader of the JeM, and he meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino had told reporters at a daily news conference.
The JeM, he said, has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability and peace.
(With inputs from PTI and Moneycontrol)
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