China once again blocked India’s bid at the UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar, the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack.
According to highly placed sources in New Delhi, just hours before the deadline earlier on Thursday, China requested the UN Committee that is considering a ban on the chief of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), to hold the designation.
After the attack on the IAF air base at Pathankot on January, India wrote to the UN in February, calling for immediate action to list Azhar under the al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
The submission was armed with strong evidence of the outfit’s terror activities and its role in the Pathankot attack, in which seven Indian military personnel died.
India also told the UN Sanctions Committee that not listing Azhar would expose it and other countries in South Asia to threats from the terror group and its leader.
The India submission was considered by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) for technical aspects of the evidence provided. The technical team then, with the support of the US, UK and France, had sent it to all the members, sources said.
All were told that if there are no objections, the designation will be announced after the expiry of the deadline, sources said.
“However, hours before the deadline, China requested the committee to hold up the banning of the JeM chief,” sources said.
According to other government sources, Chinese action was in “consultation” with Pakistan that is not on the UN committee.
The UN had banned JeM in 2001 but India’s efforts to ban Azhar after the Mumbai terror attacks did not fructify as China, one of the five permanent members of the UN group with veto powers, did not allow the ban apparently at the behest of Pakistan.