UN adds Pakistani militant chief Masood Azhar to terror list

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


The United Nations on Wednesday added Masood Azhar, the leader of a Pakistan-based Islamist group, to its list of global terrorists after China lifted its objections to the move.

The UN sanctions committee on the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda announced in a press release the designation of Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), over its ties to Al-Qaeda.

Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops and stoked tensions between India and Pakistan.

China had blocked three previous attempts at the sanctions committee to blacklist Azhar and put a technical hold on a fourth request from Britain, France and the United States in March.

JeM itself has been on the UN terror list since 2001.

Under the decision, Azhar, considered the founder of JeM, will be subjected to an assets freeze, global ban and arms embargo.

Azhar is linked to terrorism for "participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities" carried out by JeM, according to the sanctions committee.

UN diplomats said the request was again submitted to the committee and that China had not opposed the move to blacklist Azhar.

The United States had put forward a draft Security Council resolution to blacklist Azhar, ratcheting up pressure on China to remove its opposition to the sanctions.

India applauded the move which came after its air force carried out air strikes on a JeM militant camp inside Pakistan in February -- the first time since 1971 that it had hit territory beyond divided Kashmir.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley posted on Twitter: "India stands vindicated. Masood Azhar is now a global terrorist. India is in safe hands. This marks a high point for the Prime Minister's foreign policy."

Tensions between India and Pakistan have soared since the February attack in Kashmir that prompted tit-for-tat air raids, fueling fears of an all-out conflict between the two nuclear-armed countries.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947.

Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over it.