China and its all-weather ally Pakistan are reportedly furious with the United States for pushing a draft resolution this week to outlaw the Pakistani leader of an anti-India, U.S.-designated terrorist group directly to the United Nations Security Council, bypassing established procedures.
Voice of America (VOA) reports:
Washington circulated the resolution to the 15-member council on Wednesday with the support of France and Britain to designate Masood Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a global terrorist.
The move came two weeks after Beijing blocked a similar U.S.-sponsored resolution at the U.N. anti-terrorism “1267 sanctions committee”, which China insists is the authorized U.N. body to deal by consensus with the listing issues.
Responding to the recent U.S. move, Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, reportedly urged the United States to “act cautiously” and avoid “forcefully” pushing the draft resolution.
“This is not in line with [the] resolution of the issue through dialogue and negotiations. This has reduced the authority of the committee as a main anti-terrorism body of the UNSC, and this is not conducive to the solidarity and only complicates the issue,” Geng added.
Pakistan also rebuked America’s new effort to label the JeM chief a global terrorist once and for all.
Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal recently told reporters:
Such efforts to circumvent the established machinery for this purpose will only weaken the 1267 regime. …Any action outside the committee will undermine the integrity of the sanctions regime and must be avoided. Pakistan remains committed to [fulfilling] its obligations under the U.N. sanctions committee.
China prevented the U.N. committee from sanctioning the JeM chief in 2016, 2017, and again this year.
JeM claimed responsibility for the deadly February 14 attack in the Indian-held portion of the disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir region, which drove nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to the brink of another war.
However, Islamabad has asked New Delhi to provide more evidence on the group’s involvement in the suicide assault, which left over 40 Indian forces dead, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the region.
“India on Thursday expressed disappointment over Pakistan’s response to its dossier on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s involvement in the dastardly Pulwama attack [in Indian-held Kashmir], saying Islamabad continues to be in ‘denial’ on the issue of cross border terrorism, the Press Trust of Indian (PTI) notes.
India and Pakistan have already fought two major wars and a minor conflict over Kashmir, home to competing claims for territory by Beijing, its ally Islamabad, and mutual rival New Delhi.
On numerous occasions, U.S., Indian, and Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of harboring terrorist groups like JeM, an assertion that Islamabad and Beijing continue to deny.
China and Pakistan are closed military and financial allies. While Pakistan refuses to condemn the reported mistreatment of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province, Beijing has repeatedly defended Islamabad against accusations of serving as a sanctuary for terrorists.
According to the U.S. government, China faces a terrorist threat from jihadis training and operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, which houses the highest concentration of terrorist groups in the world.
China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang province borders Pakistan-held Kashmir.
Beijing tends to stay in the shadows of Kashmir-linked military disputes between Pakistan and India, usually backing Islamabad’s position.
Pakistan has ceded control of some of its Kashmir territories to China. Meanwhile, India contests China’s claims to land that sits on the portion of Kashmir it controls.
Beijing urged restraint by India and Pakistan during the recent tensions in Kashmir that resulted in reciprocal air operations by both countries, including a brief dogfight.
“The tensions [in Kashmir] cooled down due to diplomatic interventions by major powers such as the United States, China, Russia, and regional allies, particularly Saudi Arabia,” VOA notes.
Early this month, the U.S. military credited Pakistan with taking action against terrorist groups operating on its soil in recent weeks.
“But India, and even some critics at home, remain skeptical of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, saying some of the groups, including JeM, allegedly are backed by the country’s military and previous pledges to dismantle these organizations did not produce the desired results,” VOA points out.
Referring to evidence India recently provided to Pakistan highlighting JeM’s involvement in the deadly Kashmir attack, Raveesh Kumar, a spokesperson for New Delhi’s external affairs ministry, said this week, according to PTI.