By Michelle Nichols
UNITEDNATIONS (Reuters) – China prevented a United Nations Security Council committee on Wednesday from blacklisting the head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which said it attacked an Indian paramilitary convoy in disputed Kashmir.
The Feb. 14 attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police, making it the deadliest in Kashmir during a 30-year-long insurgency, increased tensions between Pakistan and India. The nuclear-armed neighbours both said they had shot down each other’s fighter jets late last month.
The United States, Britain and France asked the Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee to subject JeM leader Masood Azhar to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze. The 15-member committee operates by consensus.
China placed a so-called “technical hold” on the request, according to a note from China’s U.N. mission to the committee, seen by Reuters. China gave no reason for the hold, which places the request in limbo.
China’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China had previously prevented the sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.
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 primarily anti-India 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 militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, attacked India’s parliament, which almost led to a fourth war between the two countries.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)