CHINA HAS blocked a proposal by India and the US at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to designate Abdul Rauf Azhar, brother of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and deputy chief of the Pakistan-based proscribed terror group, as a “global terrorist”.
Azhar, referred to as Abdul Rauf Asghar in UN documents, was involved in the planning and execution of several terror attacks, including the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 (1999), attack on Parliament (2001), and attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot (2016), government sources said.
“A proposal was moved by India, co-sponsored by the US, to list Abdul Rauf Asghar in the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee. China has, however, placed a technical hold on the proposal. All other 14 member states of the UN Security Council were supportive of the listing proposal,” said a source. Listing him as a global terrorist would subject him to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
This is not the first time that China has obstructed the listing of terrorists in the 1267 Sanctions Committee. In June this year, China placed on hold a joint proposal by India and the US to list the deputy chief of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Abdul Rehman Makki, in the sanctions list. Makki was involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalising youths to resort to violence and planning attacks in India, including the Mumbai terror attacks (2008), according to sources.
The source said there is “incontrovertible evidence” for both these listing proposals. “Both individuals have also been sanctioned by the US under its domestic legislation,” said the source.
China’s decision to block two proposals to list Pakistan-based terrorists reflects the strategic alliance between Beijing and Islamabad. It is also a reflection of the strained ties between India and China, as well as China and the US in the current geopolitical climate.
“It is unfortunate that the sanctions committee has been prevented from playing its role due to political considerations. China’s actions expose its doublespeak and double standards when it comes to the international community’s shared battle against terrorism. Such politically motivated actions by China, in nearly every listing case of a Pakistan-based terrorist, undermine the entire sanctity of the working methods of the UNSC Sanctions Committees,” said the source.
A day before Beijing blocked this latest proposal, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, had said at a Security Council meeting chaired by permanent member and Council president China that “the practice of placing holds and blocks on listing requests without giving any justification must end”.
“An effective functioning of the Sanctions Committees requires them to become more transparent, accountable and objective… It is most regrettable that genuine and evidence-based listing proposals pertaining to some of the most notorious terrorists in the world are being placed on hold,” she had said.
“Double standards and continuing politicisation have rendered the credibility of the sanctions regime at an all-time low. We do hope that all members of the UNSC can pronounce together in one voice, sooner than later, when it comes to this collective fight against international terrorism,” she had said.
China on Thursday sought to defend its move. “We need more time to assess the application to sanction this individual,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing in Beijing while replying to a question. Wang said the 1267 Committee of the UNSC has clear provisions about designating terrorist organisations and officials.
“China has always strictly followed the rules and procedures of the committee and in a constructive and responsible manner participated in its work. We hope other members will also do the same,” Wang said.