UN puts Pakistani armed group chief Masood Azhar on ‘terror’ list

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The United Nations added Masood Azhar, leader of a Pakistan-based armed group, to its list of “global terrorists” on Wednesday after China lifted its objections to the move.

The UN sanctions committee on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and al-Qaeda announced in a press release the designation of Azhar – the chief of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) – over his ties to al-Qaeda.

JeM claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops and stoked tensions between India and Pakistan.

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

Azhar founded JeM in 2000 after being released from an Indian prison in exchange for 155 hostages from a hijacked Indian Airlines plane. JeM itself has been on the UN’s “terrorist” list since 2001.

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

The sanctions committee accused Azhar of “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” carried out by JeM.

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

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