Deadline to list Masood Azhar a global terrorist nears

Deadline to list Masood Azhar a global terrorist nears

China in the past blocked at least three attempts to bring the JeM chief under UN sanction

The fingers are crossed in New Delhi ahead of the deadline for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members to block the latest move to bring Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar under international sanctions.

Even as New Delhi reached out to all the 15 members of the Security Council and secured assurances of support from most of them, it is China which is still keeping India guessing.

China in the past blocked at least three attempts to bring the JeM chief under UN sanction, ostensibly to save its “all-weather friend” Pakistan from embarrassment.

The latest move to bring the Azhar under United Nations sanctions was initiated by France, the United States and the United Kingdom – the three of the five permanent members of the Security Council – after a suicide bombing by a JeM terrorist killed over 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, resulting in escalation of tension between India and Pakistan.

The JeM is based in Pakistan and often carries out attacks in India. The UNSC imposed sanctions on the JeM in 2001. Azhar, who not only founded the outfit, however, remains out of the purview of the UN sanctions. The radical cleric continues to live free at Bahawalpur in Pakistan and still leads the JeM.

The deadline for any Security Council members to raise objection to the move will end at 3:00 a.m. (Indian Standard Time) on Thursday.

Russia, another permanent member of the UNSC, too extended support to the latest move to get Azhar designated by a committee of the council as an individual linked to Taliban, Al Qaeda and its now-deceased chief Osama bin Laden and to bring him under full-spectrum UN sanctions, sources in New Delhi said on Monday.

China, which is also a permanent member of the Security Council, however, remained non-committal on extending support to the move, even as India reached out to the communist country.

“The UN Security Council and its subsidiary bodies are run on strict rules,” the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chinese Government, Lu Kang, said in Beijing, when a journalist asked about China's position on the move initiated by France, UK and the US to impose sanctions on the JeM chief.

“We already stressed China's position on the listing of terrorist organizations and individuals in the UN Security Council 1267 Committee on many occasions. China has all along participated in relevant discussions in a responsible manner and in strict accordance with the rules of procedure and provisions of the 1267 Committee,” said Lu.

He said that China would continue to communicate and work with relevant parties in a responsible manner so as to properly resolve this matter. “Only by making a decision through responsible and serious discussions can we find a lasting solution.”