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China to again block UN move to declare JeM chief Masood Azhar as terrorist

China said the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council was yet to reach the consensus to ban Masood Azhar, who is the mastermind of the deadly terror attack at an army base in India last year.

world Updated: Oct 30, 2017 18:20 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Masood Azhar,Jaish-e-Mohammad,UN Security Council
Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.(Reuters file)

China signalled on Monday it would again block a US-backed resolution to sanction Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar, saying there are “disagreements” among UN Security Council members on the move to declare him an international terrorist.

The foreign ministry cited lack of “solid proof” against Azhar, accused by India of masterminding the terror attack on Pathankot airbase last year, as the reason for its stance. It also said it backs Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts.

The ministry further said the Security Council is yet to reach consensus on the issue and more time is required to discuss the move to designate the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed as an international terrorist, which will come up at the UN later this week.

China’s reluctance to proscribe Azhar comes weeks after Brics (Brazil, Russian, Inia, China and South Africa) member countries – rather unexpectedly – named Pakistan-based JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba among terror groups causing violence and security concerns, bracketing them with the Islamic State.

Explaining the reason behind China’s decision, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing: “As for the listing application by the relevant country, there are disagreements. China put the technical hold so as to allow for more time to deliberate on this matter. To our regret, the committee so far has yet to reach consensus.

“The relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council have clear stipulations as to the mandate of the 1267 Committee and clear stipulations when it comes to the listing of relevant organisations and individuals.”

Hua added, “We believe the committee should follow principles of objectivity, professionalism and fairness and reach decisions by consensus based on solid proof.”

The actions taken so far by China were meant to safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the 1267 committee. “It is in accordance with the resolution and rules of procedure of the committee. It shows our responsibility,” she said.

Hua said the reason for the block wasn’t that China and Pakistan are close allies.

“China always upholds the principle of objectivity and fairness and we judge the matter on its own merit. Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism and we support Pakistan in countering terrorism, in accordance with its own national conditions,” she said.

Beijing’s decision to block the move could be seen as a turn-around after being part of the Brics declaration that named JeM and LeT. The Xiamen Declaration, released after the Brics summit last month, was the first time that anti-India groups such as LeT and JeM were compared with the Islamic State by the five-nation grouping.

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 14:02 IST