China objects to proposal by India to blacklist Pak-based Jaish-e Mohammed leader Abdul Rauf Azhar at UN

UNITED NATIONS: China has objected to a proposal by India to blacklist senior Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) terrorist Abdul Rauf Azhar at the United Nations Security Council.

Brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar, Abdul Rauf, born in 1974 in Pakistan, has been involved in planning and executing numerous militant strikes in India including the hijacking of Indian Airlines aircraft IC814 in 1999, the attack on the Parliament in 2001 and the targeting of the IAF base in Pathankot in 2016.

It is learnt that China objected to the proposal from India to add Abdul Rauf of the JeM to the UN Security Council’s 1267 ISIL and Al Qaida Sanctions list.

Rauf Azhar was sanctioned by the US in December 2010.

In August last year, China, a permanent, veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, had put a hold on the proposal by India and the US to designate Rauf Azhar as a global militants and subject him to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

Beijing, an all-weather friend of Islamabad, had last year put holds on proposals to blacklist Pakistan-based militants Hafiz Talah Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Shahid Mahmood and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba militant Sajid Mir under the Al Qaeda Sanctions regime.

In June last year, China put a hold on a joint proposal by India and the US to designate Abdul Rehman Makki, the deputy chief of Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba under the 1267 sanctions committee.

In January this year however, Makki, the head of the political affairs wing of JuD/LeT and the brother-in-law of LeT chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, was designated a global militant by the UN after China lifted its hold on the joint India-US proposal to blacklist him, paving the way for the Security Council’s Al Qaeda sanctions committee to list him through consensus.

During India’s Presidency of the UN Security Council in December 2022, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called out Pakistan and China in his remarks to the Council briefing on ‘Global Counterterrorism Approach: Challenges and Way Forward’, saying the “contemporary epicentre of terrorism” remains very much active and “evidence-backed proposals” to blacklist terrorists under sanctions regimes are put on hold without assigning adequate reason.

“At one level, we have seen protections that come close to justification. Then, there are evidence-backed proposals that are put on hold without assigning adequate reason. Conversely, there has even been recourse to anonymity so as to avoid taking ownership of untenable cases,” Jaishankar had said.

The US Department of Treasury had in December 2010 designated “Abdul Rauf Azhar, a senior leader of Jaish-e Mohammed (JEM), for acting for or on behalf of JEM.”

The US said as a senior leader of JeM, Abdul Rauf Azhar “has urged Pakistanis to engage in militant activities. He served as JEM’s acting leader in 2007, as one of JEM’s most senior commanders in India, and as JEM’s intelligence coordinator. In 2008 Azhar was assigned to organize suicide attacks in India. He was also involved with JEM’s political wing and has served as a JEM official involved with training camps.”–(PTI)

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