China again scuttles move to put Masood Azhar on terror list

03 August 2017

China has extended by three months its technical hold on a proposal at the United Nations to designate Masood Azhar, chief of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, as a global terrorist.

China had in February this year blocked move backed by the US, the UK and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist at UN. The deadline for China to take action on its technical hold was 2 August.

Beijing's position on the Pathankot air base attack mastermind is likely to exacerbate tensions between India and China, whose armies are locked in a standoff in the Doklam area of Sikkim sector for well over a month.

If China had not extended the technical hold, Azhar would have automatically been designated under the UN as a terrorist. Sources told PTI that just before the deadline lapsed, China once again sought a three-month extension until 2 November on its technical hold on the proposal.

 The US had early this year, along with the UK and France, approached the UN's sanctions committee for the ban on Azhar. However, it was stopped by Beijing which again put a six-month technical hold on it.

The US proposal came after India's efforts last year to get Azhar listed as a global terrorist were scuttled by China.

China has been blocking India's move on the ground that there is no consensus in the UNSC 1267 which enforces a global ban on terror groups and their leaders with affiliations to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. The JeM is already on the banned list.

This is the second year that China has blocked attempts to bring about a UN ban on Azhar which would force Pakistan to act against him.

India moved for the UN ban against Azhar in March last year after the Pathankot terrorist attack. China first blocked the Indian move for six months followed by three months technical hold, which ended on 31 December last year, leading to the lapse of the application.

China is the only member in the 15-nation UN body to put a hold on India's application with all other 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi's bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.

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