At the behest of Pakistan, China has, once again, put a “technical hold” on a proposal at the United Nations to designate Masood Azhar, the chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group, as a global terrorist.
The proposal was moved by three permanent members of the UN Security Council, US, UK and France, on January 19, the last day of the Barack Obama administration.
Unlike last year, what is different this time is that, while India was one of the co-sponsors of the resolution last time, this year, US, UK and France took the lead.
“Last time, China had blocked the proposal citing it as a matter between India-Pakistan…so, this time, it was decided that others should take the lead. But Beijing has once again put it on hold,” a source told The Indian Express.
India was quick to comment that it has taken up the matter with China.
The Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “We have been informed of this development, the matter has been taken up the matter with the Chinese government.”
Throughout 2016, China used a “technical hold” on a proposal at the UNSC resolution 1267 sanctions committee to put Azhar, who lives in Pakistan, added to a list of organizations and individuals that support the Al-Qaeda against whom action is ordered by the UN’s 15-member Security Council.
Masood Azhar has been accused by India for last year’s Pathankot air force base terror attack, which claimed lives of military personnel, and has effectively scuttled the dialogue process between India and Pakistan.
A “technical hold” prevents the blacklisting which would freeze Azhar’s assets and ban his travel globally. China has used this option twice last year before “blocking” it.
Tuesday’s block puts the clock back to April last year, when Beijing had used “technical hold” for the first time in 2016. The “hold” lasts six months and can be further extended by three months. During this period, it can be converted into a “block”, which kills the proposal, which has to be adopted unanimously by all members of the Security Council.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed has already been blacklisted by the 15-nation Security Council but not Azhar.