ICMD, May 1, 2019

The United Nations on Wednesday designated Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him under the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee.

China removed its hold on the proposal, which was moved by France, U.K. and the U.S. in the Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee in February just days after the terror attack against Indians security forces in Pulwama allegedly carried out by JeM.

China on Tuesday hinted at ‘progress’ on designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar by the United Nations’ 1267 Sanctions Committee, as the United States called for resolving the contentious matter.

Senior Pakistani officials had disclosed that China could lift its technical hold leading to Azhar’s designation

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, speaking at a media briefing in Beijing, said: “We support the listing issue being settled within the 1267 committee through dialogue and consultation and I believe this is the consensus of most members. Second, the relevant consultations are going on within the committee and have achieved some progress. Third, I believe, with the joint efforts of all parties, this issue can be properly resolved.”

India has been seeking Azhar’s listing since 2016, but the latest push came after the February 14 Pulwama attack on the Central Reserve Police Force in India-held Kashmir, which was claimed by the JeM. The Indian resolution was backed by UNSC permanent members the US, the United Kingdom and France. China halted the process by applying technical hold for the fourth time.

However this time, the US, the UK and France, in a change of tactics, plan to table a resolution in the Security Council.

As Chinese spokesman Geng noted that the matter needed to be settled within 1267 Committee, Beijing has remained averse to dealing with the issue in the UNSC, where proceedings are public as compared to the sanctions committee, which operates under secrecy.

Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, while talking to journalists at the US Embassy in Islamabad, said: “We would encourage the parties to move forward with the designation (of Azhar). It reaffirms the centrality of UN and UN role in designating terrorists.”

She noted: “We believe designation process should be technical in nature, even assessment of evidence and countries moving forward to ensure that UN process works and works well and the international community is able to take corrective action against any terrorist, whoever they are, wherever they are located.” -- MD