The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday gave sanctions to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to prosecute Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and three others in connection with the Indian Air Force base terror attack in Pathankot, Punjab. Besides January 2nd Pathankot attack, Azhar is also wanted for the Uri attack which was carried out by suspected JeM terrorists on September 18th, in which 19 defence personnel were killed.
India has been continuously making efforts to get the UN Sanctions Committee to Azhar and had submitted a dossier listing out his terror activities since 1993, which specifically mentioned him as one of the handlers of the Pathankot terrorists.
However, India has been facing a hurdle in the matter as China has collaborated with Pakistan to block New Delhi’s proposal to ban Masood Azhar. Following the attack on the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot killing seven Indian military personnel, India called on the United Nations for immediate action to list Azhar under the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.
According to reports, 14 out of 15 countries were willing to designate Azhar but China alone decided to go against all the others in the bid. The US, UK and France had strongly supported the move and the other nations had also expressed their consent to proceed with the action on Azhar.
But China, one of the five permanent members of the UN group with veto powers, collaborated with Pakistan to block the bid, sources add. China is now the only country that has stood up for Masood Azhar more than once.