Row over UN proposal to blacklist Masood Azhar's brother: War of words breaks out between US, China

China on Wednesday put a hold on a proposal by India and the US to designate Azhar, the brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar, as a global terrorist and subject him to assets freeze.

Published: 11th August 2022 09:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2022 09:30 PM   |  A+A-

Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar

Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar is believed to remain free in Pakistan, a latest US report on Terrorism said. (File | AFP)

By PTI

BEIJING: China on Thursday sought to defend its move to block a proposal by the US and India at the UN to blacklist Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) deputy chief Abdul Rauf Azhar, saying it needs more time to assess the application to designate him as a global terrorist.

China on Wednesday put a hold on a proposal by India and the US to designate Azhar, the brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar, as a global terrorist and subject him to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

"We need more time to assess the relevant application," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing while replying to a question.

Wang said the 1267 Committee of the UNSC has clear guidelines regarding the designation of terrorist organisations and individuals and related procedures.

"China always takes part in the work of the committee in a constructive and responsible manner in strict accordance with these rules and procedures. We hope other members will do the same," Wang said in response to questions on Beijing putting hold of the US and India proposal at the United Nations to blacklist Abdul Rauf Azhar.

Abdul Rauf Azhar, born in 1974 in Pakistan, was sanctioned by the US in December 2010.

This is the second time in less than two months that China has put a hold on a listing by the US and India to blacklist a Pakistan-based terrorist under the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.

In June this year, China had put a hold, at the last moment, on a joint proposal by India and the US to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki under the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

When pointed out China also put a hold on the request to sanction a Rehman Makki under the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UNSC seeking time and how much time Beijing needs, Wang said.

"We need more time to assess the relevant application. We hope media outlets will not be led by rumours and make unwarranted speculations," he said.

Asked how much time China will take to assess the application to blacklist Azhar, Wang said, "we approach the matter in strict accordance with relevant rules and procedures."

Makki is a US-designated terrorist and brother-in-law of Lashkar-e-Taiba head and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

The US on Thursday said it values cooperation with UN Security Council members to effectively use the sanctions regime in an "apolitical way" to prevent terrorists from exploiting the global order to do their misdeeds, after China blocked a proposal by the US and India to blacklist a senior leader of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) at the United Nations.

Beijing put a hold on Wednesday on the proposal by New Delhi and Washington to blacklist the senior leader of Pakistan-based JeM Abdul Rauf Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee of the Security Council, saying it needs more time to study the case.

A spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations told PTI that Washington respects "other countries' need to verify that a nomination in the 1267 Committee meets their domestic evidentiary threshold to justify a listing at the UN."

"The United States strongly believes in the importance of the 1267 Committee, which is to prevent and hold ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates accountable for their illicit activities. Further, the United States values cooperation with our Security Council partners to effectively use this tool in an apolitical way to stop terrorists from exploiting the global order to do their misdeeds," the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson from the Chinese Mission to the UN told PTI on Thursday that "we placed a hold because we need more time to study the case. Placing holds is provided for by the Committee guidelines, and there have been quite a number of similar holds by Committee members on listing requests."

This is the second time in less than two months that China has put a hold on a listing by the US and India to blacklist a Pakistan-based terrorist under the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.

In June this year, China had put a hold, at the last moment, on a joint proposal by India and the US to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki under the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

Makki is a US-designated terrorist and brother-in-law of Lashkar-e-Taiba head and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

New Delhi and Washington had put a joint proposal to designate Makki as a global terrorist under the 1267 ISIL and Al Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council but Beijing placed a hold on this proposal at the last minute here.

The US Department of Treasury had in December 2010 designated "Abdul Rauf Azhar, a senior leader of Jaish-e Mohammed (JEM), for acting for or on behalf of JeM."

The US said as a senior leader of JeM, Abdul Rauf Azhar "has urged Pakistanis to engage in militant activities."

He has served as JEM's acting leader in 2007, as one of JEM's most senior commanders in India, and as JEM's intelligence coordinator.

"In 2008 Azhar was assigned to organise suicide attacks in India. He was also involved with JEM's political wing and has served as a JEM official involved with training camps."

A day before Beijing blocked this latest proposal, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj had said at a Security Council meeting chaired by permanent-member and Council President China that the practice of placing holds and blocks on listing requests without giving any justification must end and asserted that the credibility of the Sanctions Regime at an all-time low.

"An effective functioning of the Sanctions Committees requires them to become more transparent, accountable and objective.

The practice of placing holds and blocks on listing requests without giving any justification must end," Kamboj said.

Kamboj had added that "it is most regrettable that genuine and evidence-based listing proposals pertaining to some of the most notorious terrorists in the world are being placed on hold."

"Double standards and continuing politicization have rendered the credibility of the Sanctions Regime at an all-time low. We do hope that all members of the UNSC can pronounce together in one voice, sooner than later, when it comes to this collective fight against international terrorism," she had said.

Earlier also, China, an all-weather friend of Islamabad, has placed holds and blocks on bids by India and its allies to list Pakistan-based terrorists.

In May 2019, India had won a huge diplomatic win at the UN when the global body designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist", a decade after New Delhi had first approached the world body on the issue.

A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China was the sole hold-out in the 15-nation body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking attempts by placing a "technical hold".

All decisions of the committee are taken through consensus.

In 2009, India had moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar.

In 2016 again India moved the proposal with the P3 - the US, the UK and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the air base in Pathankot in January, 2016.

In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again.

However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the sanctions committee.



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