NEW DELHI: After China again put on hold a proposal to ban Jaish-e Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, India continues to work with the US and France to circumvent Beijing’s brazen defence of the Pakistan- based terrorist.
The US and others are said to be considering a discussion in the 1267 Sanctions Committee on why Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist is being opposed time and again by one country alone.
Taking the issue to the Security Council for an open discussion and vote is also an option which could publicly shame the Chinese for their support to the leader of a UN-designated terrorist group.
Official sources said the government is looking to seek global scrutiny of the position taken by China which provided no reason on Wednesday for its latest “technical hold” on the proposed ban on Azhar.
In fact, the hollowness, as a western diplomat put it, of China’s position is further evident from the fact that UN Secretariat recognises no such thing as a technical hold. China, according to diplomatic sources, only calls the hold technical to buy time and take the sting away from its ‘hold’ on the proposal before finally blocking it.
The Secretariat in its communication to the Sanctions Committee simply said that China had placed a hold on the proposal. “The Chinese know their action will spark outrage and so try and pass it off as technical. The fact is that they have used the same language in the past (2016 and 2017) to put the proposal on hold only to later kill it,” said a diplomatic source.
“An open debate and vote will mean China publicly having to explain its support to an acknowledged terrorist even as other Member States call for his ban,” he added.
An unnamed US diplomat at the Security Council was reported to have said if China continued to block Azhar’s designation, responsible member states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Council.
“Pakistan has quite often depended on China to protect it from the listing of Pakistan-based terrorist groups and individuals in the UN 1267 sanctions committee. The case for designating Masood Azhar – the leader of a group the UN already calls an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization – is undeniable,” said the diplomat, adding that China should not prevent the Committee from doing the job the Security Council has entrusted it to do.
“China’s move to hold the listing is inconsistent with its own stated goals of combating terrorism and furthering regional stability in South Asia. If China is serious about these goals, it should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country from being held accountable to the Council,” added the diplomat.
China has also not specified how long does it intend to keep the proposal on hold which can last for a maximum of 9 months. While China wants time to discuss the proposed ban, Indian authorities already know the outcome of that process going by what China did in 2016 and 2017
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