Hours before United Nations listing, China hints it may block Azhar ban again

The killing of dozens of Indian security forces triggered xenophobic attacks against Kashmiris in several parts of India

The killing of dozens of Indian security forces triggered xenophobic attacks against Kashmiris in several parts of India

This is a major setback to Indian efforts to proscribe the Pulwama mastermind under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

It was under the no-objection period and Committee members had a period of 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal.

Recently, China's Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou travelled to Pakistan and held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other officials. In a note sent to the council, China said it needed more time to examine the sanctions request targeting Masood Azhar, diplomats said.

Reacting to the development, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi expressed disappointment. "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", it said.

"Pakistan also suffers a lot from terrorists activities, to designate Azhar as a terrorist won't eradicate the origin of the problem and may cause more security spillovers in the region".

The Indian government thanked other member states who moved the proposal, brought forward by the US, Britain and France.

"Pakistan has quite often depended on China to protect it from the listing of Pakistan-based terrorist groups and individuals in the United Nations 1267 sanctions committee", the diplomat said. The 15-member committee operates by consensus.

Except for China, which wields veto power in the Security Council, all other UNSC members were on board with the move before the al-Qaida (1267) Sanctions Committee.

MPs to vote on Article 50 extension after rejecting no-deal Brexit
Today British MPs will hold another debate and vote on whether or not they accept leaving on March 29 with no deal. Previous votes had indicated only a minority of the House of Commons supported crashing out without a deal.

According to the listing rules of the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, the UNSC's decision will be considered adopted if no objection is received by the end of the period.

As it has done in the past, Beijing put a technical hold on the proposal just as the deadline was about to end.

"China will adopt a responsible attitude and continue to participate in discussions", foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang had said before the UNSC session.

"The case for designating Masood Azhar - the leader of a group the United Nations already calls an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization - is undeniable", the diplomat said. China insists that the decision should be acceptable to all.

It further stated how China's non-cooperation has prevented any action by the global community to enlist the leader of JeM, a proscribed and active terrorist organisation which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. The MEA posted a statement in response to a query on Beijing's role: "We are deeply disappointed that once again, a single country has blocked global consensus on the designation of an acknowledged terrorist and leader of UN-designated terrorist organisation, Masood Azhar".

In 2009, India moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar.

The blocking of the resolution, jointly presented by the United States, United Kingdom and France, seems to have greatly disappointed New Delhi.

Latest News