China blocks UNSC move to designate Masood Azhar as a terrorist

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China had previously prevented the sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said Pompeo had expressed his "understanding" of India's concerns regarding cross-border terrorism.

China has vetoed the move to designate Azhar in the past.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) is expected to take up a resolution on March 13 that declares JeM chief a global terrorist. China blocking Masood Azhar's designation as global terrorist reaffirms Chinese position of being an inseparable ally of Pakistan. "We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice", it said. Individuals placed on the list are subject to an asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban.

The request was moved by Britain, France and the United States, while Germany also joined as co-sponsor of the move on Wednesday. However, hours before the deadline expires for any member at UNSC, India has reached out to key players in order to mobilise support. The unwavering Chinese stand in Pakistan's favour comes in the backdrop of USA under secretary of state for political affairs David Hale and India's foreign secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale holding foreign office consultations on Tuesday.

Where the U.S. will play the definitive role in shaping the actions of China but it's the New Delhi which has approached Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey all of them is a close aide of Pakistan.

Not the least would have been to ensure that Pakistan isn't isolated in the worldwide community - "iron brother" Beijing stands by Islamabad through the thick of global pressure to act on the JeM and Azhar.

In a note sent to the Council, China said it needed more time to examine the sanctions request targeting Masood Azhar, diplomats said.

In the wake of the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama, India launched a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad, holding briefing for envoys of 25 countries, including from the five permanent UNSC members - the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France - to highlight Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

"Pakistan also suffers a lot from terrorists activities, to designate Azhar as a terrorist won't eradicate the origin of the problem and may cause more security spillovers in the region". "China's position on the designation of a terrorist by the 1267 Sanctions Committee is consistent and clear", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang when asked about China's stand on the issue.

Pompeo and Gokhale "discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil", according to a statement by Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also recently denied in a television interview that JeM had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.