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China blocks UN sanctions against Abdul Rauf Azhar

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    13th Aug, 2022


China delayed the imposition of sanctions sought by India and the United States against the deputy chief ofJaish-e-Mohammad, Abdul Rauf Azhar at the United Nations. 

  • The brother ofJeM chief Masood Azhar, Rauf has been under US sanctions since December 2010 for acting for or on behalf of the group.

Who is Abdul Rauf Azhar?

  • Abdul Rauf Azhar rose to global prominence with the inception of JeM in 2000.
  • In December 1999, he popped up on the terror map when an Indian Airlines flight (IC-814) from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked and taken to Taliban-controlled Kandhar. 
    • The hijacking was planned as a plot to secure the release of his brother Masood Azhar from KotBalwal jail of Jammu.
  • Following this, he orchestrated several more attacks on Indian establishments, including-
    • The Indian Parliament attack in 2000.
    • The attack on the makeshift Ayodhya Ram temple in 2005
    • The attack at the Indian Air Force’s Pathankot base in 2016
    • The Pulwama attack in 2019 that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.
      • The attacks in 2000 and 2016 had caused a deterioration of ties between India and Pakistan, with many believing the countries were on the brink of war.
  • After the Pathankot attack, the National Investigation Agency sought a red corner notice from Interpol against Rauf. 
  • The global agency issued a notice stating Rauf was wanted for waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war against the government of India, assaulting the president, governor, etc, with intent to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power besides being member of terrorist gang or organisation among other offences.

What are the sanctions against Azhar?

  • The proposal to designate Rauf as a “global terrorist”, moved by India and co-sponsored by the US, was moved in the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee.
    • If passed, the sanctions would result in asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
  • The motion had to be agreed upon by all 15 members of a Security Council Sanctions Committee to be passed. 
    • Apart from China, the other 14 member states supported the move.
  • Rauf has been on the US’s sanctions list since 2010, when he was accused of urging Pakistanis to engage in militant activities and organise suicide attacks in India.

So, why is China blocking the sanctions against Azhar?

  • Defending its move, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “We need more time to assess the application to sanction this individual.
  • China has always strictly followed the rules and procedures of the committee and in a constructive and responsible manner participated in its work. 
  • This is not the first time China has held the listing of known terrorists. In June this year, China put a hold on a joint proposal by India and the US to list another Pakistan-based terrorist, Abdul RehmanMakki under the same sanctions committee.
  • In the past, China has also repeatedly blocked proposals to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar.

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