China on Friday defended its decision to repeatedly block attempts to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations, claiming there was a lack of consensus, PTI reported.
Azhar is the chief of Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad and is accused of having carried out several terror attacks in India, including the one on an Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016, where 17 members of the security forces were killed.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cited a lack of consensus among parties on the issue. “If all parties come to a consensus, we will support it,” he said. “But it is the parties that are rightly concerned who are not coming around to the same conclusion, like India and Pakistan don’t have the same conclusions.”
Wang was speaking at a conference organised by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in the United States.
There isn’t enough evidence against Azhar to list him as a terrorist, Wang added. “Whether these people are terrorists or not, there should be solid facts and proof,” he said. “If there is irrefutable evidence, no one can turn its back on it. I don’t think Pakistan will do that.”
China, which wields the veto power, has repeatedly blocked India’s bid to designate Azhar a terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council. The Jaish-e-Mohammad is already on the list of the UN’s banned terror outfits.
In November, China blocked for the fourth time an attempt by the US, France and the United Kingdom to add Azhar’s name to the UN list because “there was no consensus”.
Wang said if the parties “directly concerned” are able to reach a consensus, then “together we will be able to push the process forward”.
“We think that is a better way to go, and we will stay in close touch with India on this issue because we also have very good ties with the Indian side,” said Wang. “We hope to see an early consensus, and together we can contribute to the fight against terror.”
Azhar was identified as the mastermind of the 2016 attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot. India has maintained that Azhar and the Jaish-e-Mohammad also played a key role in the Uri attack in September 2016.
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 Afghanistan’s Kandahar in 1999. Azhar and two other militants were freed in exchange for passengers and crew who were being held hostage by the hijackers.