US lawmaker ‘disappointed’ on China blocking Masood Azhar listing as global terrorist

Washington | A leading American lawmaker has expressed disappointment that China has once again blocked at the UNSC the designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, saying Beijing has had “ample opportunity” to fulfil its international obligation.

The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US on February 27, days after a Jaish suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, leading to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan.

Other than Pulwama, Azhar-led JeM has been involved in several terror attacks in India over nearly two decades.

It was responsible for the attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 in which nine security personnel and officials were killed.

In January, 2016, a heavily armed group of JeM attacked the Pathankot airbase in which seven security personnel were killed. The terror group also carried out the attack on Uri brigade headquarters in September 2016, killing 17 soldiers and injuring 30 others.

“I am disappointed that China has decided yet again to block Masood Azhar’s global terrorist designation at the UN Security Council,” said Congressman Eliot Engel, chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Thursday.

China & Pakistan have had ample opportunity to fulfil their international obligations,” Engel said, a day after China for the fourth time in 10 years blocked a move in the UNSC to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.

India too has said it was “disappointed” by China placing a hold on Azhar’s designation.

China has said its move would give it time for a “thorough and in-depth assessment” of the case against Azhar.

Eminent Indian-American attorney Ravi Batra said the failure of UN designation of Azhar is “a breakdown” of the UNSC’s “core mission: enhance peace and security”.

“Preventing UNSC to designate a self-professed proud terrorist chief Masood Azhar, as a ‘global terrorist’, when (Pakistan) Prime Minister Imran Khan honourably returned Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, is beyond shameful. It is elevating the evil of state-sponsored terrorism to now becoming worthy of a Patron Saint’s protection,” he said.

“If P5 (permanent five) members become protectors of terror, it’s only time before a new Thomas Jefferson will declare independence and create a new world body that renders UNSC useless at best, or hold a P5 member vicariously liable for the evil they nurtured and protected,” he said.

Except for China, all other UNSC members had supported the proposal to list Azhar, who lives in Pakistan and operates his organisation from there, as a global terrorist.

“It is worth remembering that the UN Security Council has succeeded in preventing World War III; but that success has come at a very high price: an eruption of regional wars all over the place and creating refugees and terrorists galore,” Batra added.

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