China bails out JeM terrorist Masood Azhar for a fourth time in UNSC
14 March 2019
China on Thursday blocked a fresh move in the United Nations Security Council to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, leaving a major irritant in India-China relations open.
The resolution on imposing sanctions on Azhar, moved by France and supported by two other permanent members of the UNSC – Britain and the United states – failed to get approval at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee “on account of a member placing the proposal on hold”.
India expressed gratitude to UNSC members who moved the proposal for Masood Azhar’s listing and the “unprecedented number of all other Security Council members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors”.
A statement issued by the external affairs ministry in New Delhi expressed “disappointment” at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee being unable to come to a decision on the move to sanction Azhar “on account of a member placing the proposal on hold”.
While a UNSC statement did not name the member responsible for the blocking of the move, as per the official protocols followed for the working of the Sanctions Committee, sources confirmed China was behind the “technical hold” on the listing of Azhar.
“This has prevented action by the international community to designate the leader of JeM, a proscribed and active terrorist organisation which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019,” the statement said.
This is the fourth time China, an all-weather friend of Pakistan, blocks the UN Security Council bid to list Masood Azhar as global terrorist. China’s decisions are driven more by its economic interests than the need for global peace and harmony among nations.
The United States said the failure to list Masood Azhar as terrorist will endanger regional stability and peace.
“We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice,” the US statement added.
Pakistan has been under growing international pressure to crack down on terror groups, including JeM, operating from its soil. The Pulwama attack escalated tensions between India and Pakistan and added momentum to international moves against the terror group.
Beijing’s latest blocking of the effort to list Azhar raises questions about the0020 apparent upswing in relations with New Delhi after last year’s informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan.