Hours after China blocked yet another attempt to blacklist Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist”, a US diplomat at the United Nations Security Council warned that members “may be forced to pursue other actions”. In an unusually tough message, the diplomat said Beijing “should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country” if it is serious about combatting terrorism.
The remarks came after China – in a note accessed by NDTV – put a last-minute “hold” on a proposal moved by the US, UK and France to designate Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Security Council. Beijing did not give a reason, say sources.
“This is the fourth time that China has placed a hold on this listing. China should not prevent the Committee from doing the job the Security Council has entrusted it to do,” the diplomat said. “If China continues to block this designation, responsible member states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security Council. It shouldn’t have to come to that,” the diplomat said.
India said it was “disappointed” after the Chinese move, and vowed to continue to pursue “all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens” are brought to justice.
New Delhi also thanked “all countries who supported the bid to designate Azhar as global terrorist”.
Sources say an unprecedented number of countries going into the “double digits” had backed the proposal against Masood Azhar. Germany pledged to be a co-sponsor to the proposal late on Wednesday.
A UN blacklisting will subject Masood Azhar to assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. An assets freeze under the Sanctions Committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.
A veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, China had blocked the move by India and other member nations three times earlier. The last time China blocked the move was in April 2016, months after the Jaish attack on the Pathankot air base. Registering a strong protest at the time, India said saying such a move, made only on “technical grounds,” was “incomprehensible”.