KARACHI: For the past many years China has continued to place a ‘technical hold’ in the United Nations to block imposition of sanctions on some alleged Pakistani militants on the ground that India has failed to provide sufficient information to merit such action. As a result Pakistan has been provided with some breathing space to further investigate their possible involvement in acts of international terrorism.
According to some confidential cables of US embassy in Beijing, from June 25, 2009, to January 20, 2010, the United States desperately tried to influence the Chinese to lift the technical hold, but failed as sufficient information was not coming from India. The cables obtained by Dawn through WikiLeaks quote a Chinese official as saying that China “is very serious” about its commitments to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267, but without adequate information on “these three individuals”, it would not lift the hold.
The individuals whom India wanted to be listed as `terrorist`, include Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Abdur Rehman Makki and Azam Cheema of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a relatively less heard people of these outfits.
The UNSC Resolution 1267 asks member countries to impose sanctions against people who are listed as terrorists. The member countries of the Security Council, which wield a veto are empowered to block the listing. China being one of them blocked the listing of these alleged militants, repeatedly asking India to provide more information about them to enable it to lift the technical hold.
Shen Yinyin, the deputy director of China`s ministry of foreign affairs international organisations and conferences department (UN affairs division), according to the cable of Aug 21, 2009, told the political officer of the US embassy that India had not provided sufficient information about Azhar, Makki and Azam Cheema, to merit their listing as terrorists.
The US official had contacted the Chinese deputy director asking to lift the technical hold. The Chinese official responded that China `is very serious` about its commitment to UNSC Resolution 1267, but without adequate information on the three individuals, it would not lift the hold.
Deputy director Shen stated that soon after April 28, when China had placed the technical hold on the three individuals, proposed by India to be listed as terrorists, Chinese officials had approached the Indian government for more information on the case as the information provided by it was not sufficient to justify the listing. However, she said the Indian government had maintained that the information it had presented was sufficient.
To ask China to lift the `technical hold` the United States provided some more information, but apparently it failed to convince the Chinese officials. According to one US Cable sent from the Beijing Embassy on Jan 20 last year, the US political officer delivered some reference points concerning UN 1267 Committee listing of Makki, Cheema and Azhar. The US political officer requested that China not place a new hold on these three listings. The Chinese official, Shen acknowledged that China had not provided a definitive response to the additional information provided in October 2009. She said the MFA would review the information provided in the context of UNSC Resolution 1617 and provide a response as soon as possible.
According to another cable, the contents of which have been published by some newspapers, the US State Department viewed China as acting at the behest of Pakistan in holding the designations.
The cable of December 30, 2009, sent in the name of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had alleged that “on the international stage, Pakistan has sought to block the UNSCR 1267 listings of Pakistan-based or affiliated terrorists by requesting that China places a hold on the nominations”.
The cable notes that China did not block the most recent Pakistan-related terrorist nomination made by the US. China has also supported the December 2008 designation of JuD, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and two others, days after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.