China to again block Indian bid to blacklist Masood Azhar

China is set to block a resolution at the UN this week to declare Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar an international terrorist.

India, backed by the United States, has been trying to get Maulana Masood Azhar on a U.N. list of groups with ties to Al Qaeda, blaming his group for a series of attacks in India, including one on its parliament in 2002 and another last year on an airbase.

But China, a member of the U.N. Security Council, has repeatedly put a technical hold on the Indian request, the latest of which is due to end this week.

Such decisions must be based on cast-iron evidence and fully backed by members of the U.N. panel charged with implementing resolutions relating to sanctions on militant groups and individuals, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

“China proposed a technical hold, the aim of which was to give more time for the committee members to discuss it and for relevant parties to have further consultations,” Hua told a daily news briefing.

“But regrettably, the committee has yet to reach consensus.”

The wrangling over Masood Azhar  has become a thorny issue in ties between China and India, which fears Beijing is disregarding its concerns over terrorism.

It has also fuelled worries that China will stick to its “all-weather” friend, India’s arch-foe Pakistan, no matter the weight of evidence against Islamabad.

Azhar was arrested in Kashmir in 1994  but freed by India in 1999 in return for 155 passengers held hostage in an Indian Airlines aircraft IC814 that was hijacked to Kandahar in Southern Afghanistan.

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