Weeks after China for the fourth time placed a hold on the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, the US on Wednesday circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council — with British and French support — to blacklist the JeM chief.

In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, the US, 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, which India has termed as disappointing.

That request stalled in a UN sanctions committee prompted the United States to turn directly to the Security Council with the proposed resolution blacklisting Azhar.

Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) led by Azhar claimed responsibility for the February 14 terrorist attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama district which killed over 44 CRPF personnel.

The draft resolution obtained by AFP condemns the suicide bombing and decides that Azhar will be added to the UN Al-Qaeda and Islamic State sanctions blacklist.

It remained unclear when a vote would be held on the draft resolution, which could face a veto from China, one of the five permanent council members along with Britain, France, Russia and the United States.

There have been four attempts through a UN sanctions committee to add Azhar to the blacklist. China blocked three previous requests and put a technical hold on the latest one, which could last up to nine months. JeM itself has been on the UN terror list since 2001.

Azhar is linked to terrorism for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” carried out by JeM, according to an annexe to the draft.

China has been accused by Western diplomats of protecting Pakistan’s interests in the latest standoff with India.

But Beijing has defended its decision by arguing it had adopted a “responsible attitude” in dealing “with this issue with relevant parties via thorough consultation,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Last week, a senior Trump administration official expressing deep disappointment over Beijing’s decision to block a bid in the UN to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” had said that China has a responsibility not to shield Pakistan.

“We think China has a responsibility to also not shield Pakistan and join the international community in calling on Pakistan to take action against terrorists operating on its soil,” the senior Trump administration official said.

The US has also been working at the United Nations, urging Pakistan to uphold its responsibilities pursuant to its UN Security Council commitments to deny safe haven and support to terrorists and to freeze the funds and financial assets of entities on the UN Security Council 1267 sanctions list.

(With agency inputs)