China on Wednesday put on hold a request by Britain, France and the United States to add Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar to the UN terror blacklist, diplomats said.
It was the third time that the UN Security Council was considering a resolution to put Azhar on the UN sanctions blacklist, which would subject him to a global travel ban and assets freeze.
China has twice blocked — in 2016 and 2017 — attempts to impose sanctions on the JeM chief. The group itself was added to the terror list in 2001.
In a note sent to the council, China said it needed more time to examine the sanctions request targeting Azhar, diplomats said.
Beijing had reminded the UNSC on Monday that “a responsible solution” to the listing issue could come only through discussions.
It had urged the international community to also focus on the Kashmir dispute while making such demands. “China’s position on the designation of a terrorist by the 1267 Sanctions Committee is consistent and clear,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had said when asked about China’s stand on the issue.
India claims that JeM has accepted responsibility for the February 14 attack in Indian-occupied Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.
But Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi recently denied in a television interview that JeM had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.
India and Pakistan carried out air raids last month on their disputed Kashmir frontier in clashes that sent tensions soaring between the nuclear-armed countries.
India on February 26 claimed to have staged an air strike on a camp inside Pakistan that it said belonged to JeM, but Islamabad denied that any such facility had been targeted. A day later, Pakistan shot down two Indian aircraft for violating its airspace and captured an Indian pilot, who was released two days later in a peace gesture.
The government had announced last week that more than 100 members of banned organisations, including the son and brother of Azhar and other JeM members, had been detained in a crackdown.