China blocks proposal to brand Masood Azhar as global terrorist

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Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan's militant Jaish-e-Mohammad party, attends a pro-Taliban conference organised by the Afghan Defence Council in Islamabad August 26, 2001.

The UNSC had moved the resolution just days after the Pulwama terrorist attack in which India blamed the JeM chief of masterminding the attack.

The diplomat also warned of other possible action at the UNSC should China continue to block Azhar's designation.

"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". However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.

"China's move to hold the listing is inconsistent with its own stated goals of combatting terrorism and furthering regional stability in South Asia", said the diplomat, requesting not to be named given that the deliberations of the United Nations sanctions committee are confidential, thus preventing member-countries from talking about it in public.

In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, India launched a major diplomatic offensive against Pakistan, holding briefing for envoys of 25 countries, including those from the five permanent UNSC members - the US, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France - to highlight Islamabad's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. On February 15, a day after the Pulwama attack, China had refused to back India's appeal at the United Nations to designate Azhar a global terrorist.

Sources said the 1267 sanctions committee, which is now chaired by Indonesia, will wait until 3 pm, and in case no member country seeks for a clarification, Azhar will get listed automatically.

New Delhi also thanked "all countries who supported the bid to designate Azhar as global terrorist".

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Pakistan has launched a crackdown on banned outfits, particularly Jammatud Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammed in the wake of Pulwama bombing and mounting pressure from Financial Action Task Force.

The Indian dossier was supplementing the diplomatic efforts undertaken by the permanent members, and of other co-sponsors like Germany.

"The US and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and ... a failure to designate Azhar would run counter to this goal", Palladino added.

Congressman Brad Sherman described the Chinese move as unacceptable.

JeM claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack in India-administered Kashmir that killed at least 40 Indian troops and triggered a massive military standoff between the South Asian neighbours. "This is unacceptable", he said.

China has in the past said that it did not have enough information to list Azhar.

As The Wire reported, India had shared recent audio records and transcripts with UNSC member states of Masood Azhar in the last one month, which showed that he was very much active in preaching jihad, and using the Pulwama attack and Indian airstrikes to call for further violence in Kashmir.

It is also evident that despite routine diplomatic talk about having a common front on terrorism, India and China stand apart on the issue - the post-Wuhan bilateral bonhomie can only gloss over the issue.