Masood Azhar meets the criteria to be designated as a global terrorist and not doing so is against regional stability and peace, the US said on Tuesday, a day ahead of the crucial meeting at UN Security Council on the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief.
China’s opposition to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as an international terrorist by the UN runs counter to its mutual goal with the US on regional stability, said State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino.
“I would say that the United States and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar would run counter to this goal,” he told reporters.
Masood Azhar is the founder and the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and he meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations. JeM has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability and peace, he said.
JeM was also responsible for the Pulwama terror that killed over 44 CRPF personnel on February 14.
The Jem had earlier carried out many terror strikes in India and was also involved in the attack on Parliament, the Pathankot air force base, Army camps in Jammu and Uri.
Regarding Masood Azhar, Palladino said, the US and India work closely together on counterterrorism efforts and that includes at the United Nations.
On the eve of the crucial decision by the UN Security Council, the Trump Administration made it clear that there is enough evidence against Azhar to designate him as a global terrorist.
“Our views on Jaish-e-Mohammed and its founder are well known. JeM is a United Nations-designated terrorist group,” Palladino said.
However, he refrained from making a direct comment on the deliberations inside the UN on this issue.
“The United Nations Sanctions Committee, their deliberations, are confidential, and as such we don’t comment on specific matters, but we’ll continue to work with the Sanctions Committee to ensure that the designation list is updated and accurate,” Palladino said.
The US, the UK and France had earlier moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based terror group JeM’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo.
The proposal was moved by the three permanent veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council.
It was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
An assets freeze under the Sanctions Committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.
In 2009, India moved a proposal to designate Azhar, whose UN-proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14 in which over 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.
In 2016 again, India moved the proposal with the P3 – the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the airbase in Pathankot in January 2016.
In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India’s proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee. It remains to be seen how China will vote on the proposal this time.
China, a close ally of Pakistan, has consistently blocked moves first by India and later by the US, the UK and France to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the 1267 Committee by putting technical holds.