Outraged by China blocking for the fourth time a move to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist, responsible UNSC members warned they “may be forced to pursue other actions” at the Security Council if Beijing continued with this policy.
“If China continues to block this designation, responsible member-states may be forced to pursue other actions at the UNSC. It shouldn’t have to come to that,” a Security Council diplomat told in an unusual tough warning to China.
The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to give a sense of the feeling of other members of the Security Council after China blocked the move to designate Azhar a global terrorist. Beijing previously put a technical hold on similar proposals a ..
In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack claimed by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, that left over 44 CRPF personnel dead, the US, the UK and France had 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.
The Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee members had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal.
However, just before the deadline, China put a “technical hold” on the proposal, a diplomat at the UN said.
The diplomat said China asked for “more time to examine” the proposal.
The technical hold is valid for up to six months and it can be again extended by up to three months.
Reacting to the development, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi expressed disappointment, but said it will “pursue all available avenues” to bring to justice terrorist leaders involved in attack on Indians.
“This is the fourth time that China has placed a hold on this listing. China should not prevent the Committee from doing the job the Security Council has entrusted it to do,” another security council diplomat told in response to a question.
“China’s move to hold the listing is inconsistent with its own stated goals of combating terrorism and furthering regional stability in South Asia,” said the diplomat, requesting not to be named to speak frankly, given that the deliberations of the UN sanctions committee are confidential, thus preventing member-countries from talking about it in public.
The second security council diplomat also slammed Pakistan for depending on China to protect terrorist groups and leaders that operate from its soil.
“Pakistan has quite often depended on China to protect it from the listing of Pakistan-based terrorist groups and individuals in the UN 1267 sanctions committee,” the diplomat said.
“The case for designating Masood Azhar – the leader of a group the UN already calls an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization – is undeniable,” the diplomat said.
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.
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.
China has been insisting that the solution should be acceptable to all.
JeM was responsible for the Pulwama terror attack 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.
Earlier on Wednesday, US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino had said that Masood Azhar meets the criteria to be designated as a global terrorist and not doing so is against regional stability and peace.