US opposes China, drafts resolution to blacklist Masood Azhar

The United States yesterday circulated a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that would blacklist the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Masood Azhar, as a terrorist, setting up a clash with China over the move. The draft resolution is backed by France and Britain also.

There have been four attempts through a UN sanctions committee to add Azhar to the blacklist. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

UN sources told PTI that this is the “first time” the US, the UK and France had moved a draft resolution directly in the Security Council to designate Azhar. 

Masood Azhar is linked to terrorism for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” carried out by the JeM, according to an annex to the draft.

It adds that Azhar was previously the leader of the terrorist group Harakat al Mujahadin, also known as Harakat ul-Ansar, and that most of these groups’ members subsequently joined Jaish under Azhar’s leadership.

The Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammed has carried out a series of terror attacks in India – The 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament, the 2016 Pathankot terror attack, the 2016 Uri terror attack, and 2019 Pulwama terror attack to name a few.

JeM had also claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack that killed at least 40 CRPF men in Pulwama, making it the deadliest in Kashmir.

France, the UK and the US on February 27 moved a proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee but China prevented the move. China had also prevented the committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017. There have been four attempts through a UN sanctions committee to add Azhar to the blacklist. 

A resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, Azhar formed the JeM in 2000.