China said on Wednesday that it lifted its veto on designating Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist after studying “revised material” submitted by relevant countries to the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council.
Before this Beijing had repeatedly blocked attempts by the United Nations Security Council to blacklist Azhar, most recently on March 13. The proposal to designate Azhar a global terrorist was moved by the United States, the United Kingdom and France in February, two weeks after a Jaish-e-Mohammed attack killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. China had blocked it by putting a “technical hold” on the application. It had defended its move saying it was only following procedure and needed more time to review the proposal. China had previously prevented the Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that the 1267 Committee has a detailed criteria for listing procedures. Shuang said Beijing believes that designating someone a global terrorist should be carried out in an “objective, unbiased and professional manner and based on solid evidence and consensus among all parties”.
“On this listing issue, China has been communicating with relevant parties in a constructive and responsible fashion,” he said. “Recently, relevant countries revised and resubmitted the materials for the listing proposal to the 1267 Committee. After careful study of the revised materials and taking into consideration the opinions of relevant parties concerned, China does not have objection to the listing proposal.”
The setllement of the matter shows “that in international counter-terrorism cooperation, we have to uphold the rules and procedures of relevant UN body, follow the principle of mutual respect, resolve differences and build consensus through dialogue, and prevent politicising technical issues”, Geng added.
China will continue to “firmly support” Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorist and extremist forces, the spokesperson said. “I would like to stress that Pakistan has made enormous contributions to fighting terrorism, which deserves the full recognition of the international community.”
Meanwhile, France was the first country to welcome the move. “This decision taken at the United Nations Security Council signals the successful realisation of our efforts,” said the French foreign ministry said. The United States said it wants “sustained actions” from Pakistan against terrorism as outlined in its National Action Plan, reported The Indian Express.