U.N. panel blacklists Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar: diplomats


NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.N. Security Council committee blacklisted the head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on Wednesday, after China dropped its long-held obstruction of the move, diplomats said.

Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan’s militant Jaish-e-Mohammad party, attends a pro-Taliban conference organised by the Afghan Defence Council in Islamabad August 26, 2001. REUTERS/Files

JeM carried out an attack in Kashmir on Feb. 14 that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police, making it the deadliest in the disputed region during a 30-year-long insurgency. The attack further increased tensions between nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India.

The United States, Britain and France had initially asked the Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee to subject JeM founder Masood Azhar to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze in February.

But such a move by the 15-member committee, which operates by consensus, was blocked by China.

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

JeM is an anti-India group that forged ties with al Qaeda and was blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council in 2001. In December 2001, the group’s 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.

In late March, the United States, Britain and France stepped up their push to blacklist Azhar by proposing a resolution, which would have needed nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France to pass.

After further negotiations, they submitted a new request to the committee on Sunday to sanction Azhar, which was agreed on Wednesday.



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