The United States has reportedly moved the United Nations to include Masood Azhar in its list of banned global militants. Although United Kingdom and France supported it, China has once again proved to be a stumbling block. “China opposed the US move by putting a hold on the proposal,” an official told PTI.
This “hold” period lasts for six months and can be extended by another three months. During this time, it can be blocked and thus the proposal will be nullified. If Azhar is banned by the UN Sanction Committee, it would mean that his assets will be frozen and a travel ban will be imposed on him.
The proposal was moved after Washington and New Delhi held meetings and decided that the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed was a designated militant outfit and hence its leaders cannot travel freely. Government officials told PTI that the US had moved the proposal in the second-half of last month.
Reacting to Beijing’s move, the Ministry of External Affairs told ANI that it would take up the matter with the Chinese government. Earlier in October and December, China had blocked similar proposals by India.
India has alleged that Azhar’s JeM played a key role in the Pathankot and Uri militant attacks last year. In its December proposal, India reportedly explained in detail Azhar’s involvement in the attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot in January 2016, as well as his role in the September 18 attack at the Indian Army’s Uri base.
On December 19, the National Investigation Agency also filed a chargesheet against Azhar and two other JeM leaders. Azhar is also wanted by India for his involvement in the Parliament attack case and the bomb blast at the Srinagar Assembly in 2001. India had released him after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in Kandahar in 2001.