China de­fends its moves to save ter­ror­ist Azhar

Bei­jing says pro­posed UN ac­tion against JeM founder lacks con­sen­sus

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - SECOND FRONT PAGE - —PTI

Wash­ing­ton: China has de­fended Bei­jing’s re­peated block­age of In­dia’s bids at the United Na­tions to list chief of Pak­istan-based mil­i­tant group Jaish-e-Mo­hammed Azhar Ma­sood as a global ter­ror­ist. China and Pak­istan are con­sid­ered all­weather al­lies.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi ar­gued that the is­sue lacks “con­sen­sus” among the mem­bers of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil as well as the “di­rectly con­cerned” par­ties – In­dia and Pak­istan. Azhar is ac­cused of sev­eral deadly ter­ror­ist at­tacks in In­dia, in­clud­ing one on the Uri mil­i­tary base in Kash­mir in 2016 in which 17 se­cu­rity per­son­nel were killed.

A veto-wield­ing per­ma­nent mem­ber of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, China has re­peat­edly blocked In­dia’s move – sup­ported by the US, Bri­tain and France – to des­ig­nate Azhar a ter­ror­ist un­der the Al-Qaeda Sanc­tions Com­mit­tee of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

The JeM, founded by Azhar, has al­ready been in the UN’s list of banned ter­ror out­fits. “If all par­ties come to a con­sen­sus, we will sup­port it. But it is the par­ties that are rightly con­cerned who are not com­ing around to the same con­clu­sion, like In­dia and Pak­istan don’t have the same con­clu­sions,” Wang said on Fri­day.

Wang was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion on China de­fend­ing Pak­istan-based ter­ror­ist in the UNSC at a con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by the Amer­i­can think-tank, Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions.

“We think that is a bet­ter way to go, and we will stay in close touch with In­dia on this is­sue be­cause we also have very good ties with the In­dian side. We hope to see an early con­sen­sus, and to­gether we can con­trib­ute to the fight against ter­ror, the for­eign min­is­ter said.

Wang, who is cur­rently in New York to at­tend the 73rd an­nual ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly, ar­gued that list­ing of ter­ror­ists

should be based on proof and claimed that there is not enough ev­i­dence against Ma­sood.

“Whether these peo­ple are ter­ror­ists or not, there should be solid facts and proof. If there is ir­refutable ev­i­dence, no one can turn its back on it. I don’t think Pak­istan will do that,” he as­serted.

He also praised Pak­istan for its fight against ter­ror­ism. “China is against all

forms of ter­ror­ism...We have been sup­port­ing and en­cour­ag­ing Pak­istan in its ef­forts in fight­ing ter­ror­ism...Years ago, at the re­quest of the US, Pak­istan par­tic­i­pated in the fight against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. It paid a heavy price for that and has made a huge con­tri­bu­tion. We be­lieve that there should be a fair judg­ment of what they [Pak­istan] did.”

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