Hours before the UN Security Council is to take up a resolution on listing Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, China on Wednesday hinted that it may once again block the move, saying only "the solution that is acceptable to all sides" is conducive to resolve the issue. The Lashkar-e-Tayyaba chief, Hafiz Saeed, and his deputy, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi were both placed on the lost after the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
He said the concerned institutions will have to abide by the laws and procedure on this issue.
The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the United Kingdom and the USA on February 27, days after a suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, leading to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan.
Despite the post-Wuhan upswing in Sino-India bilateral ties, what explains China's repeated blocking of the move to list Azhar as terrorist?
"We are disappointed by this outcome. This has prevented action by the worldwide community to designate the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a proscribed and active terrorist organisation which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, 2019", said the MEA press note. It had previously prevented the Security Council's Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017. Also, India's growing proximity to the USA, sheltering Dalai Lama, and Pakistan's role in China's One Belt One Road strategy are said to be the reasons for China's protecting Pakistan's interests.
He leads the JeM, which has been designated by the United Nations as a terrorist organisation and "has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability and peace", Palladino said during a news briefing in Washington. "In 2008, JEM recruitment posters contained a call from Azhar for volunteers to join the fight in Afghanistan against western forces", according to the evidence furnished by the P-3 (US, France and UK) at the UNSC. Russia, the other permanent member of the UNSC, also backed the move. However, signs from Beijing over the last two weeks had not shown any sign that it would change its mind.
"China will continue to uphold a responsible attitude and deal with this issue with relevant parties via thorough consultation".
"The United Nations Sanctions Committee, their deliberations, are confidential, and as such we don't comment on specific matters, but we'll continue to work with the Sanctions Committee to ensure that the designation list is updated and accurate", Palladino said.
On February 26, India staged an air raid on a camp inside Pakistan that it said belonged to JeM.
On Monday, America's National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted that he had spoken with Pakistani Foreign Miniter Shah Mahmood Qureshi to "encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan".