Alleged terror link: China blocks India’s bid to put JeM chief on UN blacklist

Beijing says there are different views on Masood Azhar’s case and no consensus has been reached

Reuters December 31, 2016

NEW DELHI: China has blocked India’s request to add the head of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant group to a United Nations Security Council blacklist of groups linked to al Qaeda, India said on Friday.

India has accused the JeM and its top leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, of masterminding several attacks, including a deadly assault on an Indian airbase in January. Pakistani security officials interrogated Azhar and his associates after the attack, and said they found no evidence linking him to it.

A group of heavily armed attackers had mounted a brazen attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, near the border with Pakistan, triggering a days-long siege which resulted in the deaths of all six attackers and as many servicemen.

New Delhi blamed the JeM but failed to substantiate its accusation with credible evidence. The JeM has already been blacklisted by the 15-nation Security Council, but not Azhar.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said that his government had requested that Azhar be added to the list nine months ago and had received strong backing from all other members of the council. But China, which put a hold on the move in April, had now blocked it, he said.

“We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism,” he said in a statement. Swarup added that the inability of the international community to take the step showed the “prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism.”

China’s foreign ministry said there were different views about the case, so Beijing had put forward a ‘technical shelving’ to give more time for consultation, but that regretfully no consensus had been reached.

“China’s aim is to maintain the authority and effectiveness of name listing by the committee discussing the case, which accords with Security Council resolutions and is the responsible thing to do,” it said in a statement sent to Reuters. “China will continue to maintain communication with all parties,” it added.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2016.


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