Masood Azhar was released by the Atal Behari Vajpayee government in 1999, along with Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Omar Sheikh, as part of a prisoner exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814.
China has remained defiant in supporting India’s efforts to list Jiash chief Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
China, however, expressed ‘deep shock’ over the Pulwama terror attack.
“China has noted the reports of suicide terrorist attack. We are deeply shocked by this attack. We express deep condolences and sympathy to the injured and bereaved families,” spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing.
“We firmly oppose and strongly condemn all forms of terrorism. We hope relevant regional countries will cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional peace and stability,” Geng said.
When asked about China’s stand on the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council, he said: “As for the issue of listing, I could tell you that the 1267 Committee of Security Council has a clear stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations.”
“JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner,” Geng said in an apparent reference to India’s External Affairs Ministry’s appeal to all members of the UN Security Council to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
China is a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council and has repeatedly blocked India’s request on Azhar.
India has tried to get Azhar listed as a global terrorist since 2008-09, soon after the Mumbai attacks, but China put a technical hold on it.
India again put out a request in February 2016, soon after the Pathankot attacks. China vetoed that too.
As recently as January 2017, an effort by US, UK and France was also scuttled by China.
Asked whether China would be re-looking at the issue in view of the positive momentum in bilateral relations generated by last year’s Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Geng said: “JeM as an organisation has been included in the sanctions list of the Security Council. “As to the listing of an individual, we have always upheld an earnest, responsible and professional manner. We always acted in accordance with the requirement of the situation. We will continue to maintain close communication with India and relevant parties on this issue.”
India on Thursday slammed Pakistan over the Pulwama terror attack carried out by JeM and asked the neighbouring country to stop supporting terrorists and dismantle the terror infrastructure operating from its soil.
India also strongly reiterated its appeal to all members of the international community to support the proposal to list terrorists, including JeM chief Azhar, as a designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, and to ban terrorist organisations operating from territories controlled by Pakistan.
Forty Central Reserve Police Force jawans died on Thursday in the deadliest attack in Kashmir till date, when an explosives-laden SUV rammed into their truck in Pulwama.
The attack, claimed by the Jaiesh-e-Mohammed, was carried out by a lone wolf terrorist Adil Ahmad Dar from Kakapora who had joined the group in 2018.