China Shields Azhar again

China has again blocked a US proposal for a ban on Pakistanbased terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's chief Masood Azhar by the UNSC sanctions committee. The Chinese had earlier put a technical hold on the proposal, which also had the backing of the UK and France, but since the hold couldn't be extended any further, it officially blocked the proposal and ended the global move to proscribe Azhar.

India reacted angrily to the Chinese move and called it “short-sighted and counter-productive“. Responding to queries on China's decision, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India was deeply disappointed that once again, a single country had blocked international consensus.

“India strongly believes that double standards and selective approaches will only undermine the international community's resolve to com bat terrorism. We can only hope that there will be a realisation that accommodating with terrorism for narrow objectives is both short sighted and counter productive,“ he said.

The Chinese foreign ministry continues to maintain there was no consensus on whether the issue should be listed for discussion on the UNSC agenda. India, which has been seeking international censure for Azhar, believes Beijing is trying to protect Pakistan because censuring Azhar will expose it as a terror haven. China has huge investments in Pakistan.Beijing had on Monday indicated it would block the pending application with a “technical hold“ that was to expire on November 2, saying there was “no consensus“ and there were “disagreements“ on the issue.

India, however, says China is the only one among 15 members of the committee that has opposed the listing.

This is the second time in two years that China put a “technical hold“ and later officially blocked the move to ban Azhar despite being fully aware of India's sensitivities. Censuring Azhar would result in freezing his financial assets, cutting off supply of funds to his terror organisation and exposure of Pakistan's failure to check terrorists moving around publicly in its cities. “We raised a technical hold so as to allow for more time for the UNSC committee and all members to deliberate on this matter, but there is still an absence of consensus,“ Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

Earlier, Hua rejected a suggestion that China was doing this to defend Pakistan.“I can understand why you raise this question but I cannot agree with what you said (about China supporting Pakistan). China always upholds the principle of objectivity and fairness and we judge the matter on its own merit.

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