Pressure rising on China to change stance on Masood Azhar

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Pressure rising on China to change stance on Masood AzharNEW DELHI: Diplomatic negotiations to list Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar under 1267 sanctions committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC) has entered the last lap as China could signal its decision on the issue by the end of Tuesday (USA Time).

A positive signal from China would enable UNSC to list Azhar as a global terrorist under the 1267 sanctions committee, ET has learnt. USA and China are engaged in intense negotiations on the issue as Washington awaits Beijing’s stand on the issue. India has separately engaged China on the issue when foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Beijing this week.

Last week, China stated that the listing issue was moving towards a “settlement” while denying that there is an April 23 deadline.

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France had moved a resolution in the UN 1267 sanctions committee to list Masood Azhar as a terrorist after the February 14 Pulwama attack. The French proposal was supported by the US and the UK. Russia had also supported the move along with the other 10 nonpermanent members of UNSC. However, China, a veto wielding member of the UN Security Council, put a technical hold on the proposal.

However, days after the French proposal, US moved a proposal in UN to ban Azhar. The US circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that would blacklist Azhar as a global terrorist.

Azhar is linked to terrorist activities for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities" carried out by JeM, according to an annex to the draft. The US, France and the UK had given China till April 23 to remove its technical hold on the Azhar proposal in the 1267 committee, failing which the US would move its proposal in the UNSC. Vetoing the proposal in the UNSC would mean China being isolated as all other UNSC members are in favour of naming Azhar a global terrorist.

There have been four attempts through a UN sanctions committee to add Azhar to the blacklist. China blocked three previous requests and put a technical hold on the latest one.