New Delhi: The US, France and the UK have asked China to lift its hold by 23 April on a resolution banning Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar by the United Nations, a news report said Friday.

China had on 14 March stalled a proposal co-sponsored by France, UK and the US to ban Azhar, who group claimed responsibility for the 14 February suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama region killing 40 personnel — igniting tensions between India and Pakistan.

Following China’s objection in March, the US had circulated a resolution among the UN Security Council (UNSC) members on banning Azhar by the UNSC.

A report in the Times of India on Friday said France, US and the UK had given an ultimatum to China to lift its hold by 23 April on the proposal to ban Azhar under the UN’s 1267 committee that sanctions terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic States besides their affiliates.

If China did not lift its hold by then, the US would formally introduce its resolution on banning Azhar at the UNSC bypassing the 1267 sanctions committee, the report said.

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Mint could not immediately verify the report with two people familiar with the developments separately saying that negotiations were taking place at the UN “with a lot of intense discussions" but since India was not a member of the UNSC or the 1267 sanctions committee, Indian diplomats and officials were “not at in a position to discuss the matter."

Getting the resolution to ban Azhar through the UNSC requires all five permanent members to go along with it ie US, France, UK, Russia and China voting for the resolution or China abstaining without vetoing the move. It also requires four other votes in support of the resolution from the 10 non permanent members of the UNSC.

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Banning Azhar under UN norms would mean placing strictures on his travel and activities including collecting funds for his Jaish e Mohammed group.

China’s hold on the Azhar proposal in March was the fourth time it has blocked such a move. China and Pakistan are self proclaimed “all weather friends" — something that has caused deep disquiet in New Delhi. Lately Indian officials have said that New Delhi was willing show patience “as long as it takes" and work to persuade Beijing to ban Azhar.

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