Washington: China has yet again blocked a move to get the UN to sanction Masood Azhar, the chief of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and an accused in the Pathankot attack case. According to official sources, the US had moved the UN to ban Azhar last month but Beijing blocked the move.
Indian officials said the matter was taken up with Chinese authorities, external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said. The US and other members of the UN Security Council had last year too sought action against Azhar by including him in the 1267 Sanctions Committee list but the move was first put on a technical hold and later formally blocked by China.
“We have been informed of this development and the matter has been taken up with the Chinese government,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. The latest US move came on January 19, the last day of the Obama administration.
China has refused to change its position on Azhar despite India having repeatedly taken up the issue with Beijing. Only last month, India had accused China of pursuing double standards on terror as it asserted that 14 out of the 15 UNSC members were in support of a ban on Azhar. The proposal, finalised after consultations between Washington and New Delhi, said the JeM was a designated terror outfit since 2001 and so its leaders could not be allowed to roam free.
“However, China opposed the US move by putting a hold on the proposal,” a source said, adding that the Chinese action came just before the expiry of the 10-day deadline for a proposal to be adopted, blocked or put on hold.
After the attack on the IAF base in Pathankot in January last year, India wrote to the UN in February and called for immediate action to list Azhar under the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee. The effort faced strong opposition by China, which twice put a “technical hold” before finally blocking the proposal in December.
Reacting to the Chinese move last year to stall the ban, the MEA spokesman had said that as as a consequence of Beijing’s decision, the UNSC had again been prevented from acting against the leader of a listed terrorist organisation.
“We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism and would join India and others in fighting the common challenge of terrorism,” he had said.