US, UK, France ask UN to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar

United Nations: The United States, Britain and France proposed on Wednesday that the United Nations Security Council blacklist the head of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which was involved in attacking an Indian paramilitary convoy in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February.

However, the move is likely to be opposed by China, which previously prevented the Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee from sanctioning JeM leader Masood Azhar in 2016 and 2017.

China’s UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new proposal. The 14 February attack, the most deadly in Kashmir during a 30-year-long insurgency, increased tensions between Pakistan and India.

The United States, Britain and France have asked the 15-member Security Council sanctions committee to subject Azhar to an arms embargo, global travel ban and asset freeze. The committee operates by consensus and members have until 13 March to raise objections, according to the proposal seen by Reuters.

When the council committee previously considered blacklisting Azhar in 2017 the Chinese Foreign Ministry said there were clear rules for listing a person or group as a terrorist, and that China has always believed the relevant U N committee should operate on the principles of objectivity.

JeM is a terror group that forged ties with al Qaeda and was blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council in 2001. In December 2001, Jaish fighters, along with members of another Pakistan-based terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, attacked India’s parliament, which almost led to a fourth war.

The Security Council condemned the 14 February attack in a statement last week, which was agreed after several days of negotiation. Diplomats said China had been opposed to a reference of JeM, however the agreed statement did eventually note that JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.