China May Try to Delay the Discussions on Masood Azhar in UNGA By Year End
| Onkareshwar Pandey - 07 Apr 2019





By Onkareshwar Pandey

New Delhi, April 07, 2019: Under the huge global pressure on the issue of Blacklisting Masood Azhar after the United States’ decision to discuss this issue in the open UN General Assembly by circulating a draft resolution to all members of UN Security Council, embarrassed China may try to delay the issue until the year-end.

Upset with the Chinese decision to put a technical hold on proceedings against Azhar again on Mar 13, the US on Mar 27 circulated a draft resolution to the 15-nation UNSC to blacklist Masood Azhar, Chief of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad and enforce curbs on his travel, asset ownership and access to arms.

However, it remained unclear when a vote would be held on the draft resolution on Masood Azhar. It may be mentioned here that, a technical hold by China could last up to nine months.

China blocked three previous requests and saved JeM chief Masood Azhar for four times from UN Blacklisting as a Terrorist. Last month, China put a technical hold on a French proposal to list Azhar under the UNSC 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee and asked for more consultations before bringing the matter to the UNSC for voting.

Amid signs that Beijing could oppose the US attempts to push through a resolution prescribing the JeM chief, Washington has said it would utilise “all available avenues” to ensure that Masood Azhar was held accountable by the UN Security Council (UNSC).  

China has been exposed due to its blind support to Pakistan in repeatedly thwarting the United Nations efforts to declare Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief, Masood Azhar, a global terrorist.

The US draft resolution on Masood Azhar, backed by France and Britain, which joined the US earlier this month in pushing for sanctions against Azhar, condemns the Pulwama attack and says that Azhar will be added to the UN Al-Qaeda and Islamic State sanctions blacklist. It would subject Azhar to a global travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo.

Finding itself under huge international pressure on Masood Azhar after the US decision to take the issue directly to the UN General Assembly, China has warned that the US move could complicate an already tense situation in South Asia.

China is clearly running out of its options and feeling increasingly isolated on the global platform on this issue.

In a reaction to the State Department comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said “We hope South Asia could maintain peace and stability and we hope India and Pakistan will engage in dialogue, and through dialogue and consultation resolve outstanding issues,”

The US State Department spokesman insisted that Washington also wanted to route its move to brand Azhar a UN-designated terrorist through this committee, but it was also not against using other options.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, however, claimed that the US threat to use “all available avenues” was not helpful, particularly when JeM’s involvement in the Pulwama attack had not yet been proven.

Without mentioning the US by name, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said, “We believe under the current circumstances, forcing a draft resolution at the Security Council is not a constructive move and sets a bad example… It is also not conducive for peace and stability in South Asia. China is opposed to this.”

China has made its displeasure known as the US attempts to corner it by referring the issue to the wider Security Council, because it knows that, once the issue is deliberated in the Security Council, China will find itself isolated in the important forum.

China knows that except them, all the 15 countries (10 non-permanent members and five members) are in favour of Azhar being declared a global terrorist in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Pulwama, Kashmir, on a convoy of Indian security personnel that led to more than forty fatal casualties.

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman tried to justify their position by saying that “China had taken a ‘constructive and reasonable stand’ on the issue, while the US stance was not conducive to peace and stability in South Asia.”

Meanwhile, under the global pressure, China also made its all-weather ally Pakistan give a placatory statement, thus exposing the nexus between the two countries.

Surprisingly, Pakistan suggested that “China could withdraw its technical hold on Azhar if India agreed to military de-escalation along the border and resume the stalled bilateral talks.”

However, China was rebuked by the US making the issue of Indo-Pak military de-escalation and resumption of talks as pre-condition for lifting its technical hold in the Azhar issue.

It is clearly indicative of the realisation on the part of both China and Pakistan that the issue could not be procrastinated further.

Frustrated by China’s stubbornness in not lifting the technical hold on the UN listing of Azhar as a global terrorist, the three key members of the P-5 Club in the UNSC have sought an explanation from Beijing.

There is no doubt that major countries have been exasperated with China for torpedoing the repeated efforts of the United Nations to ban Azhar.

With the US refusing to play ball in linking the two issues and major members of the UN Security Council hardening their position, time is running out for Beijing.

Sensing that it can no longer protect the JEM chief,  China seems to be working to wriggle itself out of the situation now.

That’s why China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a regular media briefing that, “After the application for designation of Azhar was proposed (in the 1267 Sanctions Committee), China is in close communication and coordination with various parties and has made positive progress. The US knows that very well.”

“We hope various parties will meet each other halfway and continue to properly solve this issue under the 1267 Committee framework. Last Friday, UN Security Council members exchanged views on the US-proposed draft resolution. The majority believes that efforts should be made to solve the issue under the 1267 Committee framework,” the Chinese spokesperson added.

It is, however, quite apparent that China is feeling the heat and it is a matter of time before it falls in line, but, it will make every effort to prolong the process.

In 2017 also, it was the odd nation out in the 15-member Security Council when the P3 nations – the US, UK and France – sought to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would have entailed a travel ban on him and freezing of his assets. While the proposal had the approval of all the other 14 members of the Security Council, it was China which censored it. Needless to say, China is misusing its veto power.

The second important point which exposes China’s double standards in the war against terrorism is its argument that listing Azhar as a global terrorist is not conducive for peace and stability in South Asia. One fails to understand this weird and illogical explanation.



It is worth mentioning here that the JeM was blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2001, a year after its formation, following a deadly attack on Indian parliament in December 2001, which had brought India and Pakistan on the verge of a fourth war. Strangely, China considers JeM an outlawed organisation, but not its leader?  

China’s compulsion in protecting Azhar, who is, no doubt, a prized asset for Pakistan, is well understood. China has made a huge investment in Pakistan under its CPEC project. And apart from the all legal support from Pakistan Government, China also has an understanding with the Masood Azhar and others for protecting their assets in Pakistan.

Now, if the United Nations declares Azhar a global terrorist, then Pakistan will be compelled to arrest him and seize his assets.  This is something the Imran Khan government can’t afford to do since it has fear of unprecedented violence by an army of militants who work for Azhar. The resultant disruption will adversely impact the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

China also does not want to give an issue on a platter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when India is in midst of parliamentary elections. The designation of Masood as a global terrorist and his subsequent arrest can no doubt be a big boost for Modi’s campaign to return to power.  

However, any further attempts by China to stall the move will be seen as its weakening resolve to fight the global war against terrorism. It now needs to take a stand on which side of terror it stands. 

Here is the full text of summary given by UN Security Council under 1267 for the sanctions to Jaish-I-Mohammed


In accordance with paragraph 36 of resolution 2161 (2014) , the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee makes accessible a narrative summary of reasons for the listing for individuals, groups, undertakings and entities included in the Al-Qaida Sanctions List.



Date on which the narrative summary became available on the Committee's website: 

7 October 2011

Reason for listing: 

Jaish-i-Mohammed was listed on 17 October 2001 pursuant to paragraph 8(c) of resolution 1333 (2000) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” or “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” Al-Qaida (QDe.004), Usama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Additional information: 

Jaish-i-Mohammed (JiM) is an extremist group based in Pakistan founded by Masood Azhar upon his release from prison in India in 1999 in exchange for 155 hostages held on an Indian Airlines flight that had been hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The 1994 Harakat ul-Mujahidin / HUM (QDe.008) kidnappings of American and British nationals in New Delhi and the July 1995 kidnappings of tourists in Kashmir were two of several previous efforts to free Azhar.

Azhar formed JiM with support from Usama bin Laden (deceased), the Taliban, and several other extremist organizations.

On 1 October 2001, JiM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar, Kashmir, that killed at least 31 persons; it later denied the claim. JiM and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (QDe.118) were implicated in the 13 December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed nine and injured 18.

JiM has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions. Supporters are mostly from Pakistan and Kashmir, but also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. Most of JiM's cadre and material resources are drawn from the militant groups Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) (QDe.130) and HUM.

JiM is based in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, but members conduct terrorist activities primarily in Kashmir. They also co-operate with the Taliban in attacks against Afghan government and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) targets in Afghanistan. JiM maintained training camps in Afghanistan until the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

JiM has had close ties with both Al-Qaida (QDe.004), and the Taliban. Usama bin Laden is believed to have provided funds to JiM. In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani Government, JiM has withdrawn funds from bank accounts and invested in businesses such as commodity trading, real estate and the production of consumer goods. JiM members have also set up two organizations registered in Pakistan as humanitarian aid agencies: Al-Akhtar Trust International (QDe.121) and Alkhair Trust. JiM hoped to give the impression that the two new organizations were separate entities and sought to use them as a way to deliver arms and ammunition to its members under the guise of providing humanitarian aid to refugees and other needy groups.

Related listed individuals and entities: 

Al-Qaida (QDe.004), listed on 6 October 2001

Al Rashid Trust (QDe.005), listed on 6 October 2001

Harakat ul-Mujahidin / HUM (QDe.008), listed on 6 October 2001

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (QDe.118), listed on 2 May 2005

Al-Akhtar Trust International (QDe.121), listed on 17 August 2005

Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (QDe.130), listed on 6 August 2010

Abdur Rehman (QDi.309), listed on 14 March 2012


Image credit – Al-Manar Tv, Lebanon

(Onkareshwar Pandey is Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor - News, ANI






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