China remains non-committal over India's efforts to include Maulana Masood Azhar in UN terrorists' list

Though his whereabouts are supposedly unknown, Azhar is said to operate out of PoK and surfaces now and then to deliver fiery anti-Indian speeches under Pakistani military protection. 

Published: 16th February 2019 03:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th February 2019 08:41 AM   |  A+A-

Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar (File | AFP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: While China expressed shock over Thursday’s suicide bombing attack in Pulwama that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF soldiers, it remained non-committal over endorsing India’s long-standing efforts to have Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar proscribed by the United Nations (UN) as a global terrorist.   

“China has noted the reports of suicide terrorist attack. We are deeply shocked by this attack. We express deep condolences and sympathy to the injured and bereaved families,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a media briefing in Beijing. 

When questioned about China’s stand on proscribing Azhar, Geng replied with a measured response.

“As for the issue of listing, I could tell you that the 1267 Committee of Security Council has a clear stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations. JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner,” Geng said in an apparent reference to India’s appeal.

On Thursday, JeM claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed 40 soldiers in Pulwama, the worst such attack on Kashmiri soil.

Azhar, 50, a portly bespectacled man shifted his attention to Kashmir after being injured in the Mujahideen war against the Soviets. 

Though his whereabouts are supposedly unknown, he is said to operate out of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and surfaces now and then to deliver fiery anti-Indian speeches under Pakistani military protection. 

He was arrested and jailed in India in February 1994 when he came to Kashmir to resolve differences among various militant groups there.

But on December 31, 1999, he was among three terrorists freed in exchange for the passengers aboard Indian Airlines flight IC 814, which had been hijacked and taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan, under Taliban rule at the time. The hijackers were led by Azhar’s brother Ibrahim Athar.

Sources said the outfit, which unlike the local Kashmiri separatist outfits believes in suicide attacks, has been hit by the recent crackdown by Indian forces.

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