UK hopes China will allow Azhar sanctions

UK hopes China will allow Azhar sanctions

Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar. (File Photo)

The United Kingdom hopes that China will soon lift its “technical hold” over the proposal to impose United Nations' sanctions on terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed's leader Masood Azhar.

“We are waiting to see whether the country that is so far been resisting agreeing to its listing will lift that objection,” the UK's envoy to India, Dominic Asquith, told journalists in New Delhi on Friday.

The UK has joined other permanent members of the UN Security Council— the United States and France— in the efforts within the Council to impose global sanctions on Azhar, who is based in Pakistan and has masterminded several terror attacks in India.

China has been blocking initiatives to sanction the JeM chief, ostensibly to save its “all-weather ally” Pakistan.

“I remain optimistic that we will get to that conclusion (of imposing UN sanction on Azhar),” said Asquith.

The latest move to bring Azhar under UN sanctions was initiated by three of the five permanent members of the Security Council— the UK, the US and France— after JeM carried out an attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama in which over 40 CRPF soldiers were killed on the February 14, escalating tension between India and Pakistan.

China blocked the move on March 13 by putting the proposal on “technical hold” — fourth time since 2009.

The US, the UK and France of late initiated a fresh move to sanction the JeM chief by circulating a new draft resolution at the UN Security Council itself.

British High Commissioner on Friday said that the UK had done its bit when tension between India and Pakistan had escalated after the Pulwama attack.

“We were very actively involved. We were certainly talking to a variety of key actors in Pakistan to make it clear on what we expected in terms of Pakistani action against terrorist groups who are operating around the Line of Control (de facto border between India and Pakistan),” said Asquith.

He was replying to a question if the UK, like the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, too played a role to diffuse tension between India and Pakistan.

“Don't mistake natural British modesty with what we say in public with a lack of activity,” he said.