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US calls for public vote in UNSC to list Masood Azhar: Frustrated China, Pakistan criticize the move

File photo of Masood Azhar. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 28, 2019, 05.48 PM (IST) Written By: Anas Mallick , Sidhant Sibal

China & Pakistan have found themselves in a tight spot after the US moved a resolution on the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under the United Nations. 

Criticising Washington's action, Pakistan has said that the move will weaken the UN sanction body 1267 UNSC committee while China said that it will complicate the issue.

Spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry Mohammad Faisal in his weekly briefing said, "We regret that a resolution has been circulated in the UNSC at a time when the matter was under consideration by the 1267 sanctions committee. Such efforts to circumvent the established machinery for this purpose will only weaken the 1267 regime."

He added, "Any action outside the committee will undermine the integrity of the sanctions regime and must be avoided. Pakistan remains committed to fulfilling its obligations under the UN Sanctions regime."

Hours later echoing the sentiments in Islamabad, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, " The US has bypassed the 1267 committee and directly filed the draft resolution to the Security Council. This is not in line with the resolution of the issue through dialogue and negotiations."

Adding further, Geng said, US action 'will only complex the issue' and asked it to 'act cautiously and avoid forcefully moving forward this resolution draft.'

In a major development, the US has called for a public vote on the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. The US has for now circulated a draft resolution in the UN Security Council. 

The draft resolution does not require a consensus like with the UNSC 1267 committee. Instead, it needs 9 votes in favour in the 15 members UNSC and no member of the P5 or permanent five members of the UNSC -China, Russia, the United States, France or Britain should veto it. The exact date of the vote still hasn't been announced. 

The US, UK, and France had after the Pulwama terrorist attack last month proposed the designation of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, but China put a technical hold on the move on March 13. 

China has previously blocked the listing of Masood Azhar three times — in 2009, in 2016 and in 2017. This public voting will bypass the 1267 committee mode to designate Masood Azhar and each country has to publically state the reason for the veto.

Last month after the Pulwama terror attack, US along with UK and France had proposed the listing of Azhar but China on 13th of March had put a hold on the listing.

The JeM, of which Azhar is a co-founder, had claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack that killed over 40 Indian security personnel.

Indian govt has said that it is aware that a draft has been initiated for consideration of Council members to list Masood Azhar but said it will not comment since it's still being discussed informally by the UNSC.

But New Delhi has reiterated its views on Azhar saying he is the founder-leader of the JeM, the group behind a number of terror attacks in India including Pulwama.

Story highlights

The US has already called for a public vote at the United Nations Security Council on the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar by circulating a draft for the resolution.