China has once again come forward to side with Pakistan on a United Nations Security Council resolution meant to tarnish Pakistan’s image internationally.
A friend indeed, China has put on hold the resolution by Britain, France and the United States seeking to add the name of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar to the UN terror blacklist, as part of a broader made-in-India scheme to project Pakistan as a state that sponsors terrorists.
Twice in the past — in 2016 and 2017 — has China blocked attempts to put the JeM chief on the UN sanctions blacklist which would subject him to a global travel ban and assets freeze. The fresh resolution had to be taken up by the Council on March 13.
China has instead stressed the need for ‘responsible and serious discussions’ to resolve the matter, and sought more time, through a note sent to the Security Council, to examine the sanctions request.
Separately at a news briefing, a foreign ministry spokesman insisted that Beijing’s position on the designation of a terrorist by the UN Sanctions Committee is 'consistent and clear' and it “will continue to communicate and work with relevant parties in a responsible manner so as to properly resolve this matter. Only by making a decision through responsible and serious discussions can we resolve the issue in a sustainable manner”.
That China has also urged the international community to also focus on the Kashmir dispute while making such demands shows its unequivocal support to Pakistan on this longstanding dispute with India — something that becomes all the more important amid the prevailing tensions between the two countries in the wake of the Pulwama attack.
India claims that the JeM has accepted responsibility for the February 14 attack in which 44 Indian troops were killed, but Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi denies any such claim has been made.
While Pakistan has never shied away from taking action against terrorists and extremists — having successfully carried out a couple of full-scale military operations against radicals, apart from the various crackdowns on terror-related activities, including the one happening recently — it has always insisted on an action on a time of its choosing.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2019.
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