Some permanent members of the UN Security Council plan to “pursue other actions” to counter China’s continued opposition to designating Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Masood Azhar, a Security Council diplomat said Wednesday, stressing the case for listing the Pakistan-based terrorist was “undeniable”.
The diplomat did not elaborate but other UN officials familiar with the rules and regulations of the listing of terrorists by the UN said the stalled designation proposal can be escalated to the Security Council itself now, which would be an unprecedented move and a “public” rebuke of China, which will be forced to “defend its defense of a well-known terrorist in full public view”. Open UNSC proceedings are telecast live.
China “should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country from being held accountable to the Council,” the diplomat said on background to Hindustan Times. “If China continues to block this designation, responsible member states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security Council. It shouldn’t have to come to that.”
The diplomat, who spoke presumably for all three Security Council members who moved the Azhar designation proposal, also criticized Pakistan for depending “on China to protect it from the listing of Pakistan-based terrorist groups and individuals”, tying Islamabad, at the same time, to the terrorists it harbors and shelters from proscription.
There was anger and frustration all around with China preventing the designation of Azhar on Wednesday by putting a technical hold on the proposal moved jointly by three Security Council permanent members, France, the United States and the United Kingdom. India said it was “disappointed” by the failure of the designation of the head of the outfit which killed 40 CRPF personnel in a terrorist attack in Pulwama last month.
“This is the fourth time that China has placed a hold on this listing,” the Security Council diplomat said pointedly. “China should not prevent the Committee from doing the job the Security Council has entrusted it to do. China’s move to hold the listing is inconsistent with its own stated goals of combatting terrorism and furthering regional stability in South Asia.
The official did not expand on what other actions were being considered by the “responsible” members.
But other UN diplomats familiar with the functioning and rules of the 1267 sanctions committee of the UN Security Council, which lists and delists global terrorists, said the designation can be escalated to the highest level and be presented before the Security Council itself for an open discussion and vote that would force the opponents of Azhar’s designation to publicly acknowledge their defense of terrorism.
India has been critical of the opaque process by which the sanctions committee lists terrorists. Its proceedings and decisions are confidential and members do not have to explain their vote.
But if the designation is put before the Security Council, speculated upon, China will be forced to take a stand publicly, “in full view” of those watching the live feed as it either defends its opposition to the designation of a man who is undeniably a terrorist or give up”.