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China to again Block Resolution Declaring Masood Azhar as Terrorist

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Hua-Chunying is Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry
Hua-Chunying is Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Information Department of the People's Republic of China. IANS

Beijing, October 30: In a setback to India, China will block the US resolution at the UN this week to declare Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar an international terrorist.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council was yet to reach the consensus to ban Azhar, who is the mastermind of the deadly terror attack at an Army base in India last year.

“As for the listing application by the relevant country, there are disagreements. China put the technical hold so as to allow for more time to deliberate on this matter. To our regret, the Committee so far has yet to reach consensus,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

China has repeatedly scuppered India’s effort to have Azhar declared an international terrorist.

After Beijing blocked and put a technical hold on India’s application that lapsed last year, the US in January put a fresh proposal – backed by France and the UK – to designate Azhar an international terrorist.

Beijing again put a technical hold on the proposal till August and extended it for another three months. The technical hold expires on Thursday this week. (IANS)

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EU Analyses Designating Pakistani Militant Leader Masood Azhar a Terrorist

JeM is already a U.S.- and U.N.-designated terror group

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pakistani, terrorist
FILE - Indian activists carry placards of the leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group, Masood Azhar, during a protest denouncing an attack on the Indian air force base in Pathankot, in Mumbai, India, Jan. 4, 2016. VOA

The European Union is reportedly contemplating designating the leader of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) a terrorist.

The EU’s decision comes nearly a week after a push by France and India to declare JeM leader Masood Azhar a terrorist and freeze his assets.

JeM is already a U.S.- and U.N.-designated terror group.

Focus on Kashmir

Azhar is an Islamist extremist who wants to end Indian control of a portion of the disputed Kashmir area and merge it with Pakistan. He was born in 1968 in Pakistan’s Punjab province in a Deobandi (Sunni sect) Muslim family.

jem, masood azhar, pakistani
Azhar founded Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2000 and maintained his affiliation with several terror groups, including al-Qaida, Hurkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), all U.S.-designated terror groups. Wikimedia

He reportedly received his early education in Bahawalpur, Punjab, and later enrolled in Jamia-ul-Uloom, an Islamic seminary in Karachi, where he became a teacher.

Azhar founded Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2000 and maintained his affiliation with several terror groups, including al-Qaida, Hurkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), all U.S.-designated terror groups.

JeM is believed to be based in the Peshawar region of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Azhar received his militant training in Afghanistan in the 1980s and fought Soviet troops there.

Spurred by jihad decree

Azhar reportedly traveled to Afghanistan in 1988 with his brother, Ibrahim Azhar, who according to analysts played a key role in shaping Masood’s religious ideology.

masood azhar, pakistani, jem
FILE – Muslim cleric Masood Azhar arrives at Karachi airport, Jan. 22, 2000. VOA

“Azhar himself mentioned in one of the articles that his inclination towards jihad started when Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, head of the Karachi Jamia-ul-Uloom at that time, issued an Islamic decree for students to go and participate in Afghan jihad,” Mujahid Hussain, an author and expert on terror outfits, told VOA.

It was during his time in Afghanistan that Azhar developed a relationship with al-Qaida and its leadership, and later worked closely with the terror group.

Azhar traveled to several countries, including Britain, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, India and Bangladesh, to raise funds and recruit youth toward jihad.

He has written over 20 books on Islamic history and the importance of jihad.

Location a mystery

Azhar’s current whereabouts are unknown. Some experts in Pakistan believe he is living in Bahawalpur, a city in southern Punjab.

jem, masood azhar, pakistani
Azhar traveled to several countries, including Britain, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, India and Bangladesh, to raise funds and recruit youth toward jihad. Wikimedia

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“I personally know many people who have met Azhar in Bahawalpur. Azhar reportedly goes to the mosques, gives sermons and greets people. And he continues to write for JeM’s magazine,” Hussain said.

On Feb. 5, when various religious parties throughout Pakistan marked Kashmir Day, an audio clip of Azhar was played during a JeM rally in Karachi. In the audio, Azhar invited people toward jihad.

“Stay determined,” he said. “And instead of going one by one, if you all go out there together as a group, India won’t be able to stand us for even one month. (VOA)