China has opposed a U.S.-led proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad’s founder Masood Azhar a global terrorist, more than a month after it vetoed an earlier proposal for the same.
The “technical hold” put by China on the proposal jointly moved by the U.S., the U.K. and France indicates its continued eagerness to shield Pakistan.
Pakistan had recently said the JeM leader had been put under house arrest, even as it became clear that the outgoing Obama administration had renewed the proposal to designate Azhar terrorist, immediately after the Chinese veto in December.
When the UNSC meets as al-Qaeda, Taliban & IS Sanctions Committees, it works on the principle of ‘unanimity and anonymity’ — a single member’s opposition amounts to a veto, and the deliberations and the voting will remain secret.
India had last year opposed this practice which it called the “hidden veto”. Last year, China put the proposal on hold, first for six months, and then extended it for three months before finally blocking it altogether. Once it is ‘blocked,’ a new proposal can be moved.
The JeM is already a UN-designated terrorist organisation and China has so far refused to explain how it distinguishes the leader from the organisation.
The question of Azhar — who was among the terrorists released by India following the hijacking of IC-814 in 1999 — came to the foreground last year after India held him responsible for the Pathankot attack.
India hopes that the Trump administration policy at the UN will signal continuity with the Obama administration on the issue.