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UNSC may be forced to take ‘other action’, China warned

Published : Mar 15, 2019, 2:13 am IST
Updated : Mar 15, 2019, 2:19 am IST

China has blocked four bids in 10 years to get Azhar, a blue-eyed boy of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, listed as a UN-designated global terrorist.

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar (Photo: AFP)
 Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar (Photo: AFP)

Washington/New Delhi: Responsible member-states of the UN Security Council may be forced to take “other actions” if China continues to block moves to designate Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, diplomats at the UN’s principal organ have warned.

The senior diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity to give a sense of the frustration of the other members of the Security Council after China on Wednesday put a technical hold on the proposal to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.

China has blocked four bids in 10 years to get Azhar, a blue-eyed boy of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, listed as a UN-designated global terrorist.

“If China continues to block this designation, responsible member-states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security Council. It shouldn’t have to come to that,” a Security Council diplomat said in an unusual tough warning to China, a close ally of Pakistan.

“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.

India expressed disappointment over China’s decision but said it will “pursue all available avenues” to bring to justice terrorist leaders involved in attack on Indians. Azhar masterminded many audacious attacks on India, including the 2001 Parliament strike and the recent Pulwama carnage in February that pushed both India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US on February 27, days after a suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed over 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, leading to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan.

Another 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 noted.

“The case for designating Azhar — the leader of a group the UN already calls an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organisation — is undeniable,” the diplomat said.

On Tuesday, the Donald Trump administration said that Azhar meets the criteria to be designated as a “global terrorist” by the UN.

State department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said, “I would say that the US and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Azhar would run counter to this goal,”    

Meanwhile, observers in India said that despite China once again blocking the UNSC proposal to ban Azhar there are indications that New Delhi does not want to sour ties with its larger eastern neighbour. India, apparently, does not want to wash away the gains made in Sino-Indian relations after the Doklam border flare up.

Sources said this was the reason why India did not name China while expressing “disappointment” over the UNSC’s inability to ban Azhar. Observers noticed that the statement was relatively mildly-worded and did not lash out at China.

Also, the second edition of the informal summit between the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Indian Prime Minister is scheduled to take place later this year in India.

Observers point out that China does not want to spoil its relations with its all-weather friend Pakistan and Islamic hardline organisations within that country as it wants to protect its huge financial investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

On Thursday, social media was abuzz with calls to boycott Chinese goods but it may be recalled that the Chinese government itself had stated a few years ago that such a move would have little impact on the Chinese economy.

Tags: un security council, masood azhar