Masood Azhar meets the criteria to be designated as a global terrorist and not doing so is against regional stability and peace, the US said on Tuesday, a day ahead of the crucial meeting at UN Security Council on the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief.
Masood Azhar heads the Jaish-e-Mohammed or JeM, which had carried out many terror strikes in India and was also involved in the attack on Parliament, the Pathankot air force base, army camps in Jammu and Uri.
The Pak-based terror outfit had also claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF in Pulwama which claimed the lives of 40 personnel.
Three permanent members of the UNSC — the United States, Britain and France — have moved a resolution to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
Several previous attempts by these three countries inside the UN Security Council were blocked by China, the all-weather ally of Pakistan.
China, which is one of the five veto-powered members of the Security Council, so far has vetoed proposals to ban Azhar, claiming lack of evidence to designate him as a global terrorist.
Amidst a mounting global outrage in the wake of the Pulwama attack that led to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan, US, Britain and France hope that Beijing would act wisely and would not oppose their move against Azhar.
On the eve of the crucial decision by the UN Security Council, the Trump Administration on Tuesday made it clear that there is enough evidence against Azhar to designate him as a global terrorist.
“Azhar is the founder and the leader of the JeM, and he meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters at his daily news conference.
The JeM, he said, has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability and peace.
The US and India work closely together on counterterrorism efforts, and that includes at the United Nations, he added, noting that their views on the Jaish-e-Mohammed and its founder are well known.
However, he refrained from making a direct comment on the deliberations inside the UN on this issue.
“The United Nations Sanctions Committee, their deliberations, are confidential, and as such we don’t comment on specific matters, but we’ll continue to work with the Sanctions Committee to ensure that the designation list is updated and accurate,” Palladino said.
“The United States and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Azhar would run counter to this goal,” Palladino said in response to a question on previous successful attempts by China to block the UN designation of Azhar.