China blocks bid by US, India to sanction JeM leader at UN

UNITED NATIONS: China blocked on Wednesday a proposal by the United States and India to sanction at the UN Security Council a top commander in the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group, diplomats said.

India claims Abdul Rauf Azhar was involved in the planning and execution of numerous terror attacks, including the 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft, the 2001 attack on its Parliament and the 2016 attack on an air force base in the northern district of Pathankot.

Independent counter-terrorism analysts believe there is no evidence to support New Delhi’s claims.

The US Treasury designated Azhar in 2010, accusing him of urging Pakistanis to engage in extremist activities and organise attacks in India.

India and the United States now wanted Azhar to be subjected to a global travel ban and asset freeze. Such a move has to be agreed upon by all 15 members of a Security Council sanctions committee.

“We placed a hold because we need more time to study the case. Placing holds is provided for by the Committee guidelines, and there have been quite a number of similar holds by Committee members on listing requests,” a spokesperson for China’s mission to the United Nations told Reuters.

The United States said it “respects” other countries’ needs to verify that a sanctions proposal meets their “domestic evidentiary threshold to justify a listing at the UN,” a spokesperson for the US mission to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

“The United States values cooperation with our Security Council partners to effectively use this tool in an apolitical way to stop terrorists from exploiting the global order to do their misdeeds,” the spokesperson said.

In June, China put a hold on adding Abdul Rehman Makki, deputy chief of another group proscribed by the UN, Lashkar-i-Taiba, to the blacklist. Makki has been under US sanctions since November 2010, and India claims he has been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalising young people to resort to violence, and planning attacks, including in Mumbai in 2008.

According to National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), the government has outlawed more than 65 militant groups, including JeM and Lashkar-i-Taiba.

— With input from AP

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