India Gets Support: France To Bring Proposal To Ban Masood Azhar, Says Report

| February 27 , 2019 , 12:46 IST

According to sources, France is working on a proposal to ban chief of the UN-proscribed Jaish-e Muhammad (JeM) Masood Azhar after it assumes the Presidency of the powerful UN Security Council in March.

The rotating monthly Presidency of the 15-nation UN Security Council (UNSC) will go from Equatorial Guinea to France on March 1.

It is learnt that France, a permanent member of the Council with veto powers, is working on the proposal (to ban Azhar) and it should be ready soon, informed sources told PTI, adding that the proposal against the JeM chief could perhaps be moved in the Sanctions Committee under the French presidency.

"France is focussed on bringing individual listing requests of JeM terrorists to the 1267 Sanctions Committee soon," they said. The Pakistan-based JeM claimed the responsibility of the heinous suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed, sparking outrage in India.

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Following the incident, India bombed and destroyed JeM's biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80km from the Line of Control early Tuesday, killing a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action. The facility at Balakot was headed by Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of the JeM chief.

The proposal, when moved, will be the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist. In 2009, India had moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar. This was followed in 2016 when India moved the proposal with the P3 - the United States, the United Kingdom and France - in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the airbase in Pathankot in January 2016. In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again.

However, on all occasions, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UNSC, blocked the proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee. It remains to be seen how China will vote on the proposal this time, following a crucial bilateral meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Wuzhen, where she is participating in the Russia, India, China (RIC) foreign ministers meeting.

Swaraj on Wednesday raised the Pulwama suicide attack in her meeting with her Chinese counterpart, a day after India destroyed a major JeM terror training camp in Pakistan. Stating that the JeM is banned by the UN and other countries, Swaraj told Wang that "this terrorist attack is the direct result of the impunity and cover provided to the JeM and its leaders by the Pakistani side". "After the Pulwama attack the entire UN has spoken with full voice to condemn it," she said.

(With Agencies Inputs)