China on listing Masood Azhar as global terrorist

China said on Tuesday that the vexed issue of designating Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN will be “properly resolved” but it did not give any timeline, days after Chinese president Xi Jinping met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan here.

China put a technical hold in March on a fresh proposal to impose a ban on the head of Pakistan-based JeM which claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama terror attack. It was for the fourth time, China blocked Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist by the UN.

“At present, the relevant consultations are under way in the 1267 Committee. Within the framework. And positive progress has been made. We believe in the joint efforts of all parties. This problem can be properly solved,” said a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry.

He was responding to questions on the media reports that China has reportedly consented to lift its technical hold on a fresh proposal moved by France, the UK and the US to list Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

The US, the UK and France this time stepped up pressure on Beijing by taking the issue directly to the powerful UN Security Council (UNSC).

Also read| Masood Azhar to be designated global terrorist at UN meet tomorrow: Sources

Though China can exercise its veto power as a permanent member of the UNSC, Beijing has staunchly opposed the issue to be taken to the apex UN body as it has to publically explain its stand on its reservations to list Azhar, whose group JeM has already been designated as terror outfit by UN, before exercising its veto.

China has accused the US of scuttling progress to resolve the issue by taking it to the UNSC and insisted that it should be resolved at the 1267 Committee whose proceedings are not publicised.

 

The efforts to resolve Azhar’s listing issue gathered momentum last week with the visit of Imran Khan to Beijing to attend China’s 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) which was held here from April 25-27.

During the visit, Khan held talks with Xi, besides meeting Premier Li Keqiang and Vice President Wang Qishan during which India-Pakistan tension following the Pulwama terror attack as well as listing of Azhar reportedly figured.

An official statement of China issued after Xi-Khan meeting on Sunday said the Chinese President had expressed hope that Pakistan and India can meet each other halfway and improve their relations. Both leaders also exchanged views on the situation in South Asia.

HT